Poway resident Gakuji Tozaki recently won the bronze medal in karate at the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) World Beach Games. The inaugural event was held in Doha, Qatar, in October, and more than 1,200 athletes competed in a wide range of Olympic sports.

The beach games were a unique challenge for karate competitors – the event was held outside on the sandy beach, unlike typical indoor events. “I have been training on the sand a lot, so for me, it felt good, it was fun,” said Tozaki. “I needed to make some adjustments (when I went into the tatami) and I started getting confidence, and I think this is why I could finish on top of the pool.”

Tozaki won his first National Karate Federation championship in 2013 and is currently ranked 35th in the world. He has hopes of competing for Team USA in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – which will be the first Olympic games to include karate.