Jonathan Horne screamed in pain. The dream of a historical medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo has tragically burst for Germany’s best karateka. The 32-year-old from Kaiserslautern injured his right arm in his second preliminary round match on Saturday and had to give up.
Horne was brought off the mat on a stretcher. His Georgian opponent Gogita Arkania, who was then declared the winner, applauded him encouragingly. The long-standing model athlete of the German Karate Association suffered an elbow injury and was brought to the Olympic village for further examinations, said sports director Christian Grüner shortly after the accident.
Only the first and second placed in the two preliminary round groups reach the semi-finals in the weight class over 75 kilograms and thus the medal ranks. At the start, Horne, who starts in the Kumite duel discipline, had to be content with a draw against Danijar Juldaschew from Kazakhstan. After his injury in a duel with Arkania, the tournament in the venerable martial arts temple Nippon Budokan was over for the German.
Horne, who – inspired by the films of the legendary Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan – started karate at the age of five, was one of the closest favorites in Tokyo. Only a few athletes have mastered the “balance of speed, hardness and precision” necessary for this martial art, like the former world and current European champion. Precious metal was therefore his main target in Japan. “I always compete to win,” said the man from Palatinate in the run-up to the games. “But I also know what I’ve achieved in my career.”
Karate will be part of the Olympic program for the first time in Tokyo, but will no longer be part of the program in Paris in 2024. So Horne shouldn’t get another chance for an Olympic medal. “I cannot understand that it is only now Olympic and that it will be taken out again before it has even taken place,” Horne complained before the event. For the participants this is “demoralizing”.
It hadn’t gone well for Hornes teammates in Tokyo in the days before either. Both Jasmin Jüttner and Ilja Smorguner in the Kata discipline and Noah Bitsch (Kumite) in the last tournament of his career all failed in the preliminary round.