Karate

The man who apparently launched a racist verbal attack on U.S. women's kata champion Sakura Kokumai earlier this month in a California park has been arrested following a physical assault on an elderly Korean-American couple in the same park Sunday. Michael Vivona is accused of punching a 79-year-old man and his 80-year-old wife without provocation.

Mynewsla.com reported that a group of people playing basketball in Grijalva Park at the time of the assault recognized Vivona from his previous harassment of Kokumai and surrounded him until a nearby police officer arrived to make an arrest. The incident with Kokumai, who is slated to represent the United States in this summer's Tokyo Olympics, gained widespread notice after she posted a video of it on social media in an effort to increase awareness about the growing threat of anti-Asian racism.

Karateka Sakura Kokumai, a seven-time women's national kata champion who is slated to represent the United States in this year's Olympics, released a video showing a man unleashing a racially motivated verbal assault on her as she trained in a Southern California park on April 2. Kokumai, who is of Japanese descent, didn't know why the stranger was yelling insults at her until he began making anti-Chinese comments.

Though she's aware of the recent increase in Anti-Asian racism occurring across the U.S. giving rise to a number of violent attacks, Kokumai didn't expect it to happen at a park where she regularly trains. She told local KTLA 5 News, "I thought what if this was my grandmom or anyone in my family, then that scares me," which motivated her to release the video via social media. Kokumai added one of the most disturbing things about the incident was how other people just stood by without intervening, though one woman did come up to see if she was okay after the incident.


Host country Turkey led the way at Sunday's Karate 1-Premier League finals, the first international event staged by the World Karate Federation in more than a year. Turkey captured two individual gold medals in kumite as Serap Ozcelik Arapoglu took the women's 50 kg division with a 4-2 victory over Germany's Shara Hubrich and Eray Samdan claimed the men's 60 kg category defeating Firdovsi Farzaliyev of Azerbaijan 1-0.

Spain edged out the home country in both kata divisions though as Sandra Sanchez took the women's category while Damian Quintero captured the men's competition. The next Karate 1-Premier League event is scheduled to take place April 30 through May 2 in Lisbon, Portugal.

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