Almost four months after his Olympic coronation, French karateka Steven Da Costa confirmed his dominance in the -67 kg category by winning gold at the World Championships for the second time in his career, Saturday in Dubai.
World title holder (2018), double European champion (2016, 2019) and first Olympic karate champion (2021), Steven Da Costa has kept his good reflexes in major championships.
By placing three straightforward attacks (one waza ari and two ippons) with one minute from the end of the final, he clearly dominated Macedonian Emil Pavlov 8-0, the fight ending before the end of the three minutes.
After greeting his opponent, who went from -60 kg (European champion 2014 and 2018) to -67 kg, he was able to make his back somersault, as in Tokyo, to celebrate a new triumph.
“The scenario, I had done it, and yet I respect him. He has a big career in -60 kg. For his first competition in -67 kg, he made a world final leaving the world. it’s beautiful, ”commented Steven Da Costa after the competition.
To get to this stage of the competition in Dubai, he won his five fights on Wednesday: at the expense of Curacao’s karateka Jordy Timmermans (4-0), Kosovar Ylli Cenaj (2-0), Bulgarian Vasil Rivov (3 -0), the Greek Dionysios Xenos (4-2), and finally the Japanese Soichiro Nakano (3-2).
– Two medals in the family –
The energy he will have deployed on his return from Tokyo to try, in vain, to keep karate on the Olympic program in a little less than three years will not have ultimately cost him too much strength.
Because after very long years of struggle to join the Olympics, karate was only entitled to a brief Olympic stint, in Tokyo this summer.
In 2024 in Paris, the organizing committee and the IOC preferred to choose as additional sports surfing, climbing, skateboarding (all three present for the first time at the Games in Tokyo) and breakdance, leaving karate and baseball / softball (the other two additional sports in Tokyo) on the sidelines.
For Steven Da Costa, nicknamed the “Little Prince”, karate is practiced in the family since his two brothers, the elder Logan and his twin Jessie, also play in the French team.
These little siblings pushed Father Michel to take an interest in karate. And he then became the trainer of the structure, now fully installed in Mont-Saint-Martin, the Lorraine family stronghold on the border with Belgium and Luxembourg.
On Saturday, ten minutes before getting on the mat, Steven was able to take advantage of Jessie’s first individual podium at the Worlds, who won bronze in the -84 kg category (which was not present at the Games).
“We had to come and get it and we did it. I’m going home with a medal like Steven, it’s a really cool thing. It’s 20 years of hard work, we started at 4 years old”, a Jessie commented at the end of her bronze fight against the world champion of the category, the Croatian Ivan Kvesic.
“That’s the most beautiful for me. This morning, I was proud, happy. It’s great”, rejoiced her twin brother Steven at the end of the afternoon.
Third member of the France team on a podium on Saturday, Alizée Augier, in -68 kg, was also adorned with bronze.