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British Columbia Wins Double Gold

February 20, 2023

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I.—British Columbia athletes Oonah Gamboa and Haruki Mori kicked open the history books and penned their names as the first ever gold medallists in the sport of Karate at the Canada Winter Games on Monday in Summerside, P.E.I.

Vancouver’s Gamboa and Mori, of Richmond, B.C., struck gold at the Canada Games Multi-Sport Dome in the Kata discipline which is a detailed choreographed pattern of martial arts movements that is performed individually.

The event consists of three rounds. Following an elimination round, the top-eight athletes advanced into two groups of four in the Rankings Round before the medals are determined in head-to-head competition with the final four.

Gamboa, the 17-year-old flag bearer for British Columbia at the Opening Ceremonies, lived up to her billing as a favourite heading into the competition. The top performer all day, Gamboa outscored Ontario’s Liesel Munar in the final 25.36 to 23.74 to take top spot on the women’s podium.

“I’m very honoured to receive the first gold medal in karate at the Canada Winter Games,” said Gamboa. “It is great to be here at the Games, and I’m really excited for future generations of karate athletes.”

Alberta’s Karna Kokame won one of the two bronze medal matches. The Calgarian topped her Alberta teammate, Maisie Rathwell, 22.60 to 21.66.

British Columbia’s Olivia Brodie finished on top of the other bronze-medal affair. The Saanich, B.C. teen scored 23.68 points in her final, topping New Brunswick’s Emilee Goodine for the bronze at 21.54.

Inspired by his teammates’ performance, Haruki Mori followed the golden trail to the podium for Team British Columbia in the men’s competition.

The 16-year-old was in a showdown through each of the three rounds with Quebec’s Manic Noël.

The west coaster edged out Noël for the gold after racking up 25.22 points. Noël settled for the silver medal with a score of 23.60.

“I’m very excited after winning today,” beamed Mori. “I’ve been working hard for this moment so I’m very happy to have it happen today.”

It was an all-Alberta contest in the first bronze medal pairing. Dylan Weiss (Morinville, Alta.) edged out teammate Owen Cousine (Cochrane, Alta.) 22.28 to 21.92 to snag a spot on the bronze medal step of the podium.

Ontario’s Zac Chin joined Weiss on the final step of the men’s podium after beating Saskatchewan’s Ahmed Shehata 24.28 – 22.00.

Newfoundland’s Jane Fancy was the first female athlete and Alberta’s Owen Cousine the first male to take to the Tatami at a Canada Games with 24 athletes representing 10 provinces and territories battling for the coveted spots on the podium. The competition welcomed 20 officials from coast-to-coast.

“It was fantastic first day for karate with the first ever Canada Winter Games medals issued today to the athletes in the discipline of kata,” said Craig Vokey, President, Karate Canada, who presented the first ever medals. “On a personal note, this has fulfilled a dream that started in 2011, and after a dedicated amount of work, we have achieved this goal for the karateka across the country.”

The karate events continue on Tuesday at the Canada Winter Games with the beginning of the men’s and women’s Kumite competitions.

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