Oonah Gamboa and Haruki Mori of team British Columbia claimed the first-ever gold medals to be awarded for Karate at the Canada Games. Their medals were awarded this afternoon following the Kata event at Canada Games multi-sport Dome at Credit Union Place.
Kata is a Japanese word meaning ‘form’. Kata is a detailed choreographed pattern of martial arts movements made to be practiced alone. It is practiced in Japanese martial arts as a way to memorize and perfect the movements being executed.
Oonah Gamboa beat Ontario’s Liesel Munar by a score of 25.36-23.74 in the gold medal bout. The two are familiar foes having faced off at numerous other Karate events.
“I have a lot of respect for my opponent from Ontario, we compete a lot in the regular Karate Canada Nationals so this was just another fun and happy competition for us,” said Gamboa.
For Gamboa, getting to be a part of history is very special.
“I feel very excited and very honoured. This is really big for us in B.C. and Karate. I hope to wish all future karateka good luck in the Canada Games,” said Gamboa.
Gamboa is no stranger to gold medals. She won every gold in her Kata category at the Karate National Championships between 2018-2022. She also won gold in both junior and senior Kata events at the 2022 Canada Open.
“It definitely is nice to keep adding to my gold count but the higher you go there is more to lose so I will keep training hard and hope to visit another Games soon,” said Gamboa.
Haruki Mori beat Quebec’s Manic Noël by a score of 25.22-23.60 in the Men’s gold medal bout.
“I’m very happy. I’ve been working hard for this moment especially with it being in this big tournament. With this being Karate’s first-ever Winter Games, I’m very excited and so happy to get a gold medal,” said Mori.
Mori previously earned five medals at the 2020 B.C. Winter Games. The 16-year-old has been participating in the sport now for eleven years. Even with all the experience under his belt, he says he’s still not immune to pressure.
“While I was trying to get the gold medal I was very stressed and also nervous. In my head, I just kept saying you can win, I can do this. Try to stay positive in my mind and I was able to achieve the gold medal. I’m feeling very relieved right now,” said Mori.
Mori’s next competition is Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the 68kg division of Kumite.