Champion Plank motivated by two-time final opponent Ozcelik Arapoglu
July 01 2019

Beating Turkey's Serap Ozcelik Arapoglu to the women's kumite -50kg gold medal, Austria's Bettina Plank thanked her idol and Baku 2015 conqueror for an inspirational rivalry.

"Serap is one of the best girls in this category. She's always in the top and one big idol for me. Therefore it's always a big challenge to compete against her," she said about Ozcelik Arapoglu, who beat her in the final at the European Games four years ago. 

"She's an amazing athlete and to look at how one competitor can keep this high level constantly is really incredible so this is something that I also want to have. A big motivation for me."

After the solid 5-1 final win, Plank ranked the Minsk 2019 European Games gold medal as her career's biggest achievement.

"It's the best feeling. I could not have believed this before. It was a dream, that's for sure, but when you finally have this gold medal around your neck, it is amazing," she said.

Latvia's Kalvis Kalnins won the men's kumite -60kg gold medal with a 4-0 win over Azerbaijan's Firdovsi Farzaliyev in the final, showing that he means business after a slow start to the year because of an injury to his right hand.

"The first half of this year was very bad for me," Kalnins said.

"I had not very good competitions in the European championships [lost his second match] and at these European Games I wanted to show that I'm a good sportsman and that I can fight with the very best in my weight category.

"Today was my lucky day and I fought five very good fights."

Ukraine's Stanislav Horuna took the men's kumite -75kg title and Ukraine's Anita Serogina won gold in the women's kumite -61kg competition as Ukraine's Anzhelika Terliuga lost a close final in the women's kumite -55kg class to Bulgaria's Ivet Goranova, making Ukraine the big winner in the second and last day of karate at Chizhovka Arena.

"The national anthem of Ukraine sounded twice today on karate and that was my dream," Horuna Oruna said.

"It's an incredible feeling to stay on the podium and hear the native anthem, and that dreams slowly come true if you work hard enough for it."

GNS pl/ar/wh

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