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An Olympic athlete has paid an emotional tribute to his late mother after winning Japan’s first karate gold at Tokyo 2020.
Home hero Ryo Kiyuna kept up his three-year unbeaten run in the event to take gold in the men's kata final.
The 31-year-old from Okinawa, the island birthplace of the sport, then took a photo of her to the medal podium.
“My mother really dreamed of seeing the gold medal I won,” said Kiyuna, a three-time world champion. “She passed away two years ago and I would have loved her to be here to see me.
“The day before I left Okinawa for the Olympics, I decided to bring the photo with me. I wanted to climb to the highest part of the podium with her.
“She has been my support, my core, since I was a young boy, so I wanted her to see the view from the top. I think she was smiling and crying in heaven.”
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Silver went to Damian Quintero, who had quit his job as an aeronautical engineer five years ago when the sport was added to the Tokyo programme.
“He has something very special which you can see on the tatami," the six-time European champion said of the gold medallist.
"When there are spectators, the whole stadium is in raptures and all the attention is on him."
Asked what it meant to be an Olympic champion from Okinawa, Kiyuna added: “I am from Okinawa and for the world of karate, I wanted to go down in history. I had that feeling on the tatami today.
"I am glad we were able to create a new history of karate at this Olympics.”
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