Kazakh ‘Karate Kid’ Brings Home European Kyokunshinkai Title

Temirlan ZhanibekovASTANA – Fifteen-year-old Temirlan Zhanibekov of Astana won gold at the Kyokunshinkai European Championships held in Bulgaria on May 22. Kyokushinkai or kyokushin is a type of full-contact karate.

Thirty-seven national teams and a total of 400 kids faced off in the long battle for the title. When the dust settled, Kazakhstan had claimed an unprecedented four medals – Zhanibekov’s gold in the 15-16-year-old age category and three bronze medals.

“The competition was held at a high level,” said the young fighter after his win. “I had four matches. The toughest one was a semifinal, [where] I faced a Russian. He was the current champion of Russia and Europe.”

Zhanibekov’s next goal is to win in the upcoming World Cup, he said in an interview with Kazakh TV.

In recent years, kyokushinkai has become very popular in Kazakhstan. Currently, about 5,000 Kazakh teenagers practice the martial art.

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