Finished 2nd in the Karate1 rankings in Male Kata 2014
Ranked 4th in the All Time Male Kata Rankings (WKF)
Damian Quintero has made history by becoming the first ever Male Kata European Games Champion in Baku this year.
Hot off his gold medal finish in Baku #TeamRyu caught up with Damian to find out more about him and his karate history.
TEAM RYU: Hi Damian, thanks for taking part in the interview, we'll kick off by asking how old were you when you first started karate, and what made you start?
DAMIAN: I was 6 years old, although I wanted to start karate one year before but my first Sensei said to me that I was a very little boy.
My parents were the ones that wanted me to practise Karate because infront of my school there was a little dojo and I could practise a different sport to football.
TEAM RYU: What drove you to kata rather than kumite?
DAMIAN: I stood out quickly in Kata at the national championships (in Spain) and I didn’t like Kumite so it was an easy choice for me.
TEAM RYU: How did you feel going into the European Championships knowing that your performance determined your participation at Baku 2015?
DAMIAN: Well, I was a little bit obsessed because we were talking about Baku for the last year and the European Games was the main goal this year, but I wanted to win the gold in the European Championships too so the last thing carried me to the first one, then I focused to beat the Championship to get both things.
TEAM RYU: How did you prepare for Baku was it any different to how you would approach other competitions?
DAMIAN: Actually I didn't, I always prepare for all the championships with the same intensity. But i t's true that I had Baku in my mind from January when I started the season at the Paris Open.
TEAM RYU: What does the future hold for Damian Quintero?
DAMIAN: I don´t know, maybe we have to ask to future… But I hope that a medal at the World Championships is waiting for me.
TEAM RYU: That's a great answer and we wish you all the luck at the worlds. How do you feel about the future of karate in the Olympics and the future of the WKF?
DAMIAN: Of course it's positive! It is our dream and I think the WKF and Japan Karate Federation are working hard for the Olympics in Tokyo 2020. Baku was a great event to show the world that we are ready.
TEAM RYU: What do you class as your biggest achievement in karate?
DAMIAN: I think the gold medal in the European Games for as that was an Olympic tournament, but also the Gold with my team at the worlds was great.
TEAM RYU: What has been your most memorable competition and bout?
DAMIAN: Wow… I've had so many that are good. I liked my performance at the Paris Open this year as well as Baku too, but most memorable maybe is the European Championships 2013 in Budapest when I got gold for the first time in individual kata and I had in first round the most difficult bout against my friend Luca Valdesi who I consider the best all time kata competitor.
TEAM RYU: Do you have any plans for when you finish competing?
DAMIAN: Actually no, right now my mind is only thinking about competition, but I don´t dismiss in the future being linked as coach or some position in the federation, although my other passion is aeronautical engineering.
TEAM RYU: And finally, what is your favourite kata and why?
DAMIAN: Suparinpei, because although the most of my kata are from Shito-Ryu (and my coach too), I started karate in a Goju-Ryu dojo so I feel better when I am perfomring this kata. I am able to feel the emotion that Suparinpei gives.
TEAM RYU: Damian thank you so much for this interview and we cant wait to host our seminar with you in 2016.