Spain’s Sandra Sánchez has been voted the World Games Athlete of the Month for May following her sixth consecutive gold medal at the European Karate Championships.
Sánchez showcased her supremacy at the women’s kata event in Poreč in Croatia by defeating Turkey's Dilara Bozan 27.2 to 25.76 to stretch a run that started at the 2015 European Championships in Istanbul, a performance that caught the eye of the International World Games Association, who award the monthly prize.
It underlined Sánchez’s position as one of the favourites for a gold medal when karate makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 next month.
As well as her success on the European stage, she has also won a gold medal at the 2018 World Championships in Madrid and claimed victory at the 2019 Association of National Olympic Committees World Beach Games in Doha.
Sánchez started practicing karate at the age of four but did not earn a place in Spain’s team until she was 32.
A year later, in 2016, she was told she was too old to succeed further.
In 2017, however, she won a silver medal at the World Games in Wroclaw and has maintained her outstanding form, even though she will turn 40 in September.
Sánchez is even recognised by Guinness World Records for winning the most medals in the Karate 1-Premier League.
She has won 35 consecutive medals between January 2014 and February 2020.
Sánchez will receive a diploma as well as a branded gift from the official sponsor of Athlete of the Month, Protective Life.
She joins this year’s list of World Games Athlete of the Month winners which include American bowler Kyle Troup in February, ultimate frisbee and Australian rules football player Cat Phillips in March and Brazilian surfer Italo Ferreira in April.
There was no award in January.