Egyptian Karateka Feryal Abdel Aziz won the gold medal in Tokyo 2020
The WKF announced the winners' list on Thursday after the final event of the karate1 Premier League, which was held in Russia last week.
The Grand Winner award confers the right to wear karategi (the formal Japanese name for the traditional uniform for Karate) with the golden embroidery at all karate1-Premier League events next year. The "gold" is the superior uniform used by the world's top athletes.
Olympic gold medalist Abdel-Aziz won her prize in the female kumite -68kg category for her impressive performances during the past two years.
Her latest achievement was winning a gold medal in Tokyo in addition to silver medals at karate 1 Premier League competitions in 2020 in Paris, Dubai and Salzburg. In 2021, she took silver medals in Istanbul and Moscow as well as a bronze in Lisbon.
"I can't describe my feelings. I am very happy with this award because I am the first Egyptian woman to take the Grand Winner and, of course, it has a different taste because it came after my gold medal at the Olympics. So, this is the best year of my career in Karate!" she told the WKF website.
El-Sawy earned his award in kumite -67Kg category. He claimed four medals in the past two years, including gold medals in Moscow and Istanbul earlier this year.
He won bronze medal in both Lisbon 2021 and Salzburg 2020. It is the first Grand Winner award for both Abdel-Aziz and El-Sawy.
"I am very happy with this award, but I would have been happier had my performance at the Olympics been better. Honestly, I did not expect to lose the way I did at the Olympics, and I will always carry that with me. But at least I managed to win the Grand Winner prize," El Sawy said.
The 27-year old karateka failed to qualify for the semis after finishing third in his group in Tokyo.
"This prize is the result of a series of championships they participated in and achieved good results," Mohamed El-Dahrawi, President of the Egyptian Karate Federation, told Ahram Online
WKF's criteria of picking the best athletes are based on performances, results and rankings in each championship in 2020-2021.
"It is a prestigious award given by WKF to the best athletes in the world. It has a moral value. There is no money prize," El-Dahrawi added.
"It is a good motivation for all athletes to work hard to improve their world ranking and be part of the elite players."
Abdel-Aziz moved to the top of the world ranking after winning an Olympic gold while El-Sawy moved up to fifth.
"El-Sawy is on the right track. The award is a big push for him to perform well in the coming Karate World Championship in Dubai next month. We are expecting him to win a gold medal," El-Dahrawi said.
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