Gold Medal Winner Shares Late Mother’s Picture on Podium After Gold Medal Victory at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 08/07/2021, 5:30 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Karate – Men’s Individual Kata – Medal Ceremony – Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – August 6, 2021. Gold medallist Ryo Kiyuna of Japan poses. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse


Okinawa deserves a special place in the history of karate. The sport originated on this tiny island as Ryo Kiyuna won the gold medal for Japan at Tokyo Olympics 2020. Moreover, he becomes the first native out of Okinawa to win the gold medal for Japan. After defeating Spanish athlete, Damian Quintero, Kiyuna won the medal in a flawless performance.

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However, the emotional moment came after the match. The competitor took home the gold medal and stood on the podium with a photograph of his mother by the side.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Karate – Men’s Individual Kata – Gold medal match – Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – August 6, 2021. Ryo Kiyuna of Japan competes. REUTERS/Carl Recine

Ryo Kiyuna wins gold at Tokyo Olympics 2020

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In what was an iconic moment for the country, Ryo made history. The Japanese athlete stood on the podium and seemed visibly shaken. After losing his mother two years ago, Ryo made a promise to keep his word of winning a medal for his mother and country. A grand way to end the tournament.

“After the win, I wanted to tell my late mother that I kept a promise getting the win at the Olympics,” said Kiyuna.

Likewise, he spoke about his dream in the post-match interview and seemed glad to win the event. A beautiful moment from this talented competitor.

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Kiyuna wins the match in style

Significantly, he scored 28.72 points out of 30 in an impressive display of karate. Quintero claimed the silver medal while Ariel Torres from America claimed the bronze medal. Ali Sofuolgo from Turkey won the bronze medal as well.

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In fact, this is the first time that karate made its debut in the Olympics with kata and kumite. Kata focuses on athletes performing defensive and offensive movements on a nonexistent performer. However, Kumite uses techniques from Kata to perform on a real opponent.

Despite making its debut, the IOC has dropped the sport for Paris 2024. Thus, Ryo Kiyuna’s gold medal signifies a lot considering this will be the only final match in an Olympic event.

Victory for Kiyuna would be emotional for everyone involved in the sport. Considering he lost his mother, the victory will feel like redemption for this talented athlete. Fans will forever remember Tokyo Olympics 2020 for his dominance in the sport.

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Jacob Gijy

421 articles

Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.

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