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Malaga karatekas set the bar high and dominate at the European Championships

Marta Vega (right) and her teammates Lidia Rodríguez and Raquel Roy.
Marta Vega (right) and her teammates Lidia Rodríguez and Raquel Roy. / EFE
  • Local stars Marta Vega and Damián Quintero came away from Guadalajara with gold medals at the weekend

Team Malaga set the bar high as the European Karate Championships, held in Guadalajara, came to its conclusion on Sunday. Damián Quintero, who trains in Torremolinos, brought home the first gold medal on Saturday while Marta Vega and her team, Lidia Rodríguez and Raquel Roy, collected the second on Sunday.

Quintero proved once again that there are very few athletes in this sport like him. It came as no real surprise when he added the sixth individual gold medal to his repertoire; his fifth in succession. Since 2013 he only failed to bring home gold once - in 2014.

He asserted his dominance over Turkish rival Ali Sofuoglu, winning by almost a point's difference (27.36 to 26.48).

Quintero, who has his sights set on the next Olympic Games, held in Tokyo in 2020, is currently world runner-up after winning silver in Madrid last November.

"This medal has made me especially excited as it is number 100," said the Spaniard. He added: "There is a year and half left until the Games, so a lot of work is still ahead."

Nineteen-year-old Marta Vega also brought home gold in the team event. "We are very proud that all the effort we put in has granted us this success. We have achieved the gold that last year we could not. There is nothing better than winning at home," said Lidia Rodríguez, Vega's teammate.

Vega is the youngest in the team, but by the end of 2018 she already achieved her first international gold at the Shanghai Open.

While training at the Goju Ryu gym in Torremolinos, she combines elite sport with her studies in Industrial Engineering.