Nicknamed, ‘Kingtero‘, Damian has won more than 100 medals nationally and internationally. He has won medals at Olympic, World, and European levels. For over 20 years, he has been a constant fixture on many podiums.
Damian Hugo Quintero Capedevila was born on 4 July 1984, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
When Damian Quintero was five years old, he and his family moved from Argentina to Torremolinos, Spain. His parents had left Argentina with their two children for work. They had intended to go to Australia, but in the end, they opted for Spain because of the common language.
In 1991, the young Quintero began training at the small El Club Goju-Ryu de Torremolinos Karate Club, which was located near his school. He trained under Lorenzo Marin. Because he was mischievous, his mother wanted an activity that would instil some discipline in him.
Quintero competed in his first tournament in 1992. He won a bronze medal in kata. The following year he competed in his first National Championships for Kids. The event was held in Barcelona. He was part of a Kata team representing his Torremolinos dojo.
In 1994 Quintero qualified to compete in the National Championships for Kids. He competed in the Individual Kata event for the first time. He finished in fourth place.
Three years later, Quintero won his first National title at the National Championships for Kids. He competed for the Andalusian Federation. In 2000 he won another National Championship for Kids.
In 2000 Quintero received a call from the Royal Spanish Karate Federation to train with the National Team.
Quintero changed categories in 2001. He began competing as a cadet. At that year’s National Championships, he did not win a medal in his new category.
The following year Quintero won a bronze medal at the 2002 National Championships. That year he was selected to compete at his first European Championships for Cadets. He won his first European gold medal.
In 2002 Quintero moved from Malaga to Madrid, to begin his studies at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. He studied aeronautical engineering. He continued his Karate practice at the High-Level Sports Centre of Madrid. He trained under Miguel A Lopez.
2004 was a big year for Quintero. He became Junior National Champion; Senior National Champion; and University National Champion. Aged 19, he was selected to represent Spain at the Senior European Championships. He won a silver medal. He also won the Ibero–American title.
Quintero also competed in his first World Championships in 2004. At the tournament held in Monterrey, Mexico he finished in fifth place.
Success was now becoming commonplace for Quintero. He won a bronze medal at the Spanish Championships in 2005. At that year’s European Championships, he won his first Senior European gold medal in the Team Kata event.
After the 2005 European Championships, Quintero underwent surgery for a muscle injury. This kept him away from competition for three months.
While Quintero continued to find success competitively, he also was finding success academically. In 2012 he graduated with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
Although Quintero had already found success competitively, 2013 and 2014 were excellent years for him. At the 48th European Championships held in Budapest, Hungary, between 9-12 May 2013, he won his first Individual Senior gold medal in the Kata event. He defeated Vu Duch Minh Dack and Luca Valdesi to win the title. Together with José Carbonell and Francisco Salazar, he won the Team Kata title for Spain.
At the 22nd World Karate Championships held in Bremen, Germany, between 5-9 November 2014, Quintero and teammates José Carbonell and Francisco Salazar became World Champions. They defeated Egypt in the final of the Team Kata event to win the title. They had already won that year’s European Championships and would win the European title for the third time in 2015.
In 2015 Quintero decided to dedicate himself to being a full-time Karate athlete. He gave up his job as an aeronautical engineer. That year he became the WKF Karate1 Premier League Grand Winner, after winning several Open Tournaments throughout the year. He repeated the feat in 2016 and 2017.
By 2016 Quintero had risen to the top of the WKF World Rankings in Kata. However, at the 23rd World Championships held in Lintz, Austria, he was runner-up to Ryo Kiyuna in the final of the Individual Kata event. Quintero had defeated Ilja Smorguner to reach the final. Kiyuna had defeated Antonio Diaz, a former World champion, to reach the final. Kiyuna would become his biggest rival for the next few years.
At the 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) announced that Karate would be a part of the 2020 Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan. Competitors would need to qualify to compete at the Games.
In November 2019 Quintero, qualified for the Olympic Games at a WKF Premier League tournament held in Madrid.
On 23 July 2020, the 32nd Olympic Games were due to start in Tokyo and be completed on 8 August. However, the Games were cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. They were rescheduled for 2021.
In December 2020. It was announced that Karate would not be a part of the 2024 Paris Olympics. This saddened many competitors who had long wished for Karate to be a part of the Olympics.
The first WKF tournament following the global pandemic was held in Turkey in March 2021. At the Karate1 Premier League event, Quintero and Sandra Sanchez won the Individual Kata events for Spain.
On 5 August 2021, Quintero’s Spanish teammate, Sandra Sanchez, won the first-ever Olympic gold medal. She won the Women’s Individual Kata event at the Nippon Budokan Pavilion in Tokyo.
The following day, Quintero was runner-up to Ryo Kiyuna, of Japan, in the final of the Men’s Individual Kata event. Arial Torres of the United States and Ali Sofuoglu of Turkey finished in joint third.
At the 25th World Championships held in Dubai between 16-21 November 2021, Quintero was again runner-up to rival Ryo Kiyuna.
On his return to Spain, Quintero and his teammate Maria Torres were honoured in their home city of Malaga, for their achievements at the Olympics.
In 2022 the SOC (Spanish Olympic Committee), honoured Quintero and Sandra Sanchez in Madrid, for their successes at the previous year’s Olympics. This was a bittersweet moment, as members of the Karate team lost their funding as Karate was no longer an Olympic sport.
In April 2020 the first Premier League event after the Olympics was held in Matonsinhos, Portugal. Quintero won a bronze medal.
Quintero became a published author in May 2022. His children’s book, “Adventures in Japan – The Path of the Dark“, was published.
As Damian Quintero nears the end of his competitive career, he still remains one of the world’s top competitors. His numerous successes have helped to inspire a new generation of Spanish karateka. He wants his legacy to be one of professionalism and dedication to hard work.
Quintero’s numerous successes include:
- Olympic Games – Individual Kata – 2nd Place (2021)
- World Karate Championships – Individual kata – 2nd Place (2016, 2018, 2021)
- World Karate Championships – Team Kata – 1st Place (2014)
- World Karate Championships – Team Kata – 3rd Place (2010, 2016)
- World Games – Individual Kata – 2nd Place (2017)
- European Games – Individual Kata – 1st Place (2015, 2019)
- European Championships – Individual Kata – 1st Place (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
- European Championships – Individual Kata – 2nd Place (2011, 2014, 2021, 2022)
- European Championships – Team Kata – 1st Place (2013, 2014, 2015)
- European Championships – Team Kata – 2nd Place (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016)
- European Championships – Team Kata – 3rd Place (2006, 2007, 2008)
- WKF Karate1 Premier League – Individual Kata – Grand Winner (2015, 2016, 2017)