Sandra Sanchez won the gold medal in Kata on Day 1 of The World Games. It was the perfect farewell for one of the best Karate athletes in the history of the sport who announced that she will retire from international competition after the tournament in Birmingham.
“I am feeling a mix of feeling right now,” she said after winning the title. “I am sad because this is my last competition, but I am also happy because of all that I have accomplished.”
“I have achieved all that I put my mind into. I could not possibly ask for more from life.”
As the current World, European, and Olympic titleholder, Sanchez has dominated the Kata competition over the last few years with such supremacy that she has claimed 13 consecutive gold medals in her last 13 international appearances.
She owns the triple crown, as she prevailed in the last editions of the European and World Championships, as well as winning the celebrated gold in the Olympic Games. Sanchez is also the undisputed WKF World Ranking leader and the Grand Winner of the category.
The only top award missing in her career was The World Games.
In Birmingham, she topped the preliminary pool after claiming convincing victories over Alexandrea Anacan of New Zealand, Jasmin Juettner of Germany, and Carola Casale of Italy.
“I felt really well on the tatami. Everything that I had planned worked out perfectly for me,” she said of her performance in Birmingham. “I leave with the feeling that I left my heart and soul on the tatami.”
In the semi-finals, Sanchez defeated Olympic Games bronze medallist Mo Sheung Grace Lau of Hong Kong. In a repetition of the final of the last edition of the World Championships, the Spanish Kata Queen beat Hikaru Ono of Japan in the title-deciding bout.
Her last goal was finally achieved.
“It was the last one missing!” she joked. “I really wanted to get gold at The World Games and I finally could do it here, at my last event,” added the Spaniard who won silver at the 2017 edition of The World Games in Poland.
After her gold in Birmingham, she put the golden finishing touch to one of the most successful careers in the history of the sport.
She is not only one of the most popular female athletes in her country. She is one of the most celebrated Karate athletes in the world and her tremendous legacy will live on for years to come.