ANOC World Beach Games and Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Sandra Sanchez reflects on successful two years

To mark the second anniversary of the ANOC World Beach Games Qatar 2019, ANOC caught up with beach kata gold medallist Sandra Sanchez of Spain.

Since winning gold in Qatar, Sanchez has gone on to win gold at Tokyo 2020 on karate’s Olympic debut. A legend of the sport, Sanchez has won it all with six European Championship titles, two European Games titles and a world number one ranking to her name.

Congratulations on winning gold at Tokyo 2020, how did it feel to win Olympic gold at your first ever Olympic Games?

They were a lot of feelings together, very intense feelings, which are difficult to describe. It was such a beautiful happiness, considering all the way we had to go to reach this. We had achieved the objective, in the first Olympic appearance for Karate and that meant a lot to get that medal. Unfortunately there was no audience but still there was a lot of energy in the Budokan.

You of course also experienced winning gold at the ANOC World Beach Games Qatar 2019, which today celebrates it’s two year anniversary. How did you find your experience of competing in Qatar and did it help prepare you for Tokyo?

It was very special, because it is something that we could not control, and you could not know what the results of each one of us could be, we were all new.  The sand was a surface that could change a lot our performance, your balance, your movements and also the heat! But it proved our adaptability, to work in situations that you don’t control, which personally makes you grow and improve.

The next ANOC World Beach Games will take place in 2023 and the host city selection process is currently underway. Do you hope to compete again at the ANOC World Beach Games in 2023?

I would love to!!! I am planning step by step, now I have the World Cup and then a well-deserved physical and mental break to prepare and plan for the future.

Individual Kata has been announced on the core programme of the 2023 and 2025 ANOC World Beach Games. How important do you think it is for your sport to be a part of the Games?

I truly appreciate this, Karate is struggling a lot to be where it deserves and thanks to ANOC we have the opportunity to compete in a global event and share experiences with other sports, in addition to the visibility it entails.

What are your thoughts overall on the ANOC World Beach Games and the experience it can provide athletes and fans?

It is an incredible and new experience. Being so close in contact with nature is a different way of competing and enjoying sport in a very positive environment.

All of us who were in the previous ANOC World Beach Games enjoyed the experience, as athletes in our sport but also as fans being able to watch the rest of the sports. Exactly this is the atmosphere that we love in sporting events!!

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