Sari Laine

An Individual Kumite competitor, Sari Laine is the winner of multiple titles at a National, European, and World level. She appears in the Guinness book of records for winning the most Karate medals.

Sari Laine was born on 18 November 1962, in Helsinki, Finland.

In 1972 Finland participated in the European Karate Championships for the first time. This created an interest in Karate competition for a whole generation of karateka in Finland.

However, it was not until 1980 that Finland competed in their first World Championships, held in Madrid, Spain. It was at these World Championships that women were allowed to compete for the first time. They were only allowed to compete in the kata event.

In 1982 women were allowed to compete in kumite events for the first time at the World Championships held in Taiwan. They competed in the -53 kg, -60 kg, and +60 kg weight classes. At the following World Championships held in Maastricht, the Netherlands in 1984, Sari Nyback won Finland’s first World Championship medal.

By 1986 Sari Laine had begun to represent Finland in the -53 kg event. At the 8th World Karate Championships held in Sydney, Australia, the Finnish Kumite team had a successful tournament. They won four medals (two gold, two bronze) with Laine winning a bronze medal. This was her first major medal.

From 1987 to 1993 Laine consistently placed in all the events she entered. She mainly competed in the -53 kg and Open Kumite events.

1994 was a big year for Laine. She started the year by becoming European -53 kg champion at the 29th European Karate Championship held in Birmingham, England. She followed this by becoming -53 kg Kumite World Champion at the 12th World Karate Championships held in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

For her successes in 1994 and 1995, Laine with a named Female Athlete of the Year by Finnish sports journalists.

As a very successful competitor, Laine started receiving a state grant in 1999, until 2000.

In 2005 Laine became a coach for the Finnish National side, on a part-time basis. The following year she compleated the Specialist Qualification for Coaches Course. The course provided graduates with the skills required to coach Olympic trainees.

In 2007 the Finnish Karate Association announced that Laine would be their new head coach. She became their first full-time head coach.

On 13th January 2015, the inaugural inductees into the Finnish Karate Association’s Hall of Fame were inducted. The first four people inducted were Kari Kuula, Kai Wikberg, Auvo Niiniketo, and Sari Laine.

Currently, Laine continues to train the next generation of Finnish karateka.

Sari Laine is Finland’s most successful competitor. Her major successes include:

  • World Championships (-53 kg Kumite) -1st place (1994)
  • World Championships (-53 kg Kumite) – 2nd place (1998)
  • World Championships (-53 kg Kumite) – 3rd place (1986)
  • World Games (-53 kg Kumite) – 3rd place (1993, 2001)
  • European Championships (-53 kg, Kumite) – 1st place (1987, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996)
  • European Championships (-53 kg Kumite) – 2nd place (1998)
  • European Championships (-53 kg, Kumite) – 3rd place (1995, 1997, 1999)
  • European Championships (Open Kumite)- 1st place (1992, 1995)
  • European Championships (Open Kumite) – 2nd place (1996)

Permanent link to this article:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.