Iran, Japan and hosts Uzbekistan will each be represented in four individual kumite finals after preliminary action took place today at the Asian Karate Federation Senior Championship in Tashkent.
Among the Iranians advancing to a final was Rozita Alipourkeshka, who will do battle with China's Yin Xiaoyan for the gold medal in the women’s under-61 kilograms category at the Sport Complex "Uzbekistan".
Compatriots Hamideh Abbasali, Travat Khaksar and Zabiollah Poorshab are also through to the title matches in the women’s over-68kg, women’s under-55kg and men’s under-84kg divisions, respectively.
Abbasali will face Kazakhstan’s Sofya Berultseva, while Khaksar will meet Uzbekistan’s Sevinch Rakhimova and Poorshab goes up against Jordan’s Mahmoud Sajan.
Japan’s quartet of finalists includes world champion Miho Miyahara, who will bid for a place on the top of the women’s under-50kg podium against Uzbekistan’s Bakhriniso Babaeva.
They will also be represented by Hiroto Shinohara in the men’s under-67kg, Ken Nishimura in the men’s under-75kg and Hideyoshi Kagawa in the men’s over-84kg.
Standing between Shinohara and glory is Kazakhstan’s Didar Amirali, while Nishimura and Kagawa will need to find their way past Saudi Arabians Abdulaziz Alhakami and Tareg Hamedi.
Joining Rakhimova and Babaeva in representing the home nation in the finals are Nodira Djumaniyazova and Sadriddin Saymatov.
Djumaniyazova’s opponent in the women’s under-68kg category is Indonesia’s Georgia Zefanya Ceyco, while Saymatov will have to see off the challenge of Kyrgyzstan’s Rafael Akbarov in the men’s under-60kg showdown.
The one other final decided today pits Kazakhstan’s Andrey Aktauov against Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Alharbi in the men’s under-55kg division.
All 11 gold medal matches are scheduled for tomorrow.
This year's edition of the AKF Senior Championship is the 16th, with the first having been held in Taiwan's capital Taipei in 1993.