By Erik Uebelacker
RMMAU athletes dominated Junior Finals day at the 2021 IMMAF World Championships in Abu Dhabi, winning 13 of the day’s 16 finals.
The team swept all of the junior female divisions, winning gold in all five final bouts. Among the standout performers was the RMMAU’s newly crowned champion Anastasiya Karmaeva.
Karmaeva defeated Kazakhstan’s Nazerke Isabek via unanimous decision to capture junior female bantamweight gold. She oozed confidence during the fight as she peppered her opponent with strikes throughout the three-round affair.
The 19-year-old felt assured that the judges decision would go her way, and celebrated with her corner after the final horn sounded. After bearing such difficult circumstances over the past two years, she said it was thrilling to walk away from this tournament as a champion.
“It’s been (challenging) with COVID, having to wear masks everywhere,” Karmaeva told IMMAF.org, via a translator, following her gold medal-winning performance.
“I’m really happy because I had to go a long way for this medal. I had long trainings before it, and now finally I’ve got it.”
Karmaeva was guaranteed at least a silver medal after beating Lijana Lipinskaite of Lithuania in Thursday’s semi-final round, but her sights were always set on gold.
“Everyone that was here was very high-level,” Karmaeva said.
“It’s very difficult to prepare for each fight, and it has been very emotional also. I’m just very happy that finally, (after) I came a long way, I won this fight.”
After a perfect run in this year’s tournament, Karmaeva said she’s looking forward to getting home.
“I have a big family, and they already know about my win,” she said.
“And my phone is full of messages and calls. I will return home, and show them my medal.
“I really want to say thank you to her coaches. I just want to come back home now and say thank you to the RMMAU.”
Karmaeva has competed in the IMMAF cage before, at the 2021 Senior & Junior European Open Championships. She won a bronze medal, after being eliminated by Poland’s Paulina Kontna.
But now, after claiming World Championship gold to become a medalist in each of her two IMMAF tournaments, Karmaeva is one of many RMMAU athletes to keep an eye on in 2022 and beyond.