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Tsukii stays focused on Olympic bid amid bullying probe

Beatrice Go
Tsukii stays focused on Olympic bid amid bullying probe
'I just want to focus on my Olympic rank,' says Junna Tsukii as the top Philippine karateka stays in the running for a Tokyo 2020 Olympics berth

MANILA, Philippines – Fresh from bagging two bronze medals in world competitions, national karateka Junna Tsukii is motivated to stay on track of her Tokyo 2020 Olympics bid amid a probe on a bullying incident in the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. 

“I already told PSC, my federation everything [about the bullying incident], so I just want to focus on my Olympic rank,” said Tsukii during the launch of Ajinomoto’s aminoVITAL Sports Series on Thursday, January 30 at Pretty Huge Obstacles. 

The Filipino-Japanese karateka returned to the Philippines to participate in the national championships on February 1 to 2 at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum. 

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Karate Pilipinas Inc (KPI) were waiting for Tsukii to return to the Philippines and hopefully fix the estranged relationship between the country’s top karate talent and national head coach Okay Arpa.

The Turkish Arpa reportedly verbally abused Tsukii even after she clinched the team’s first SEA Games gold. (READ: PH karate coach Arpa probe starts after Tsukii ‘bullying’ incident)

According to KPI president Richard Lim, the two will talk it over after the national championships before Tsukii leaves for Kazakhstan on Monday, February 3. 

Tsukii, who currently ranks No. 4 in Asia, will again compete in the Olympic qualification in the Karate-1 Premier League in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on February 14 to 16. 

For the Tokyo 2020 Olympics hopeful, she believes her double bronze haul in January has helped her gain more confidence. 

“Sometimes I’m nervous, but now I can relax more because I already got two medals in world competitions. So now, I can really believe in myself. I will be better than before and I really feel how I grow now,” Tsukii told Rappler. 

However, Tsukii vows to improve and make it far in future tournaments as she aims for a gold to boost her bid for a maiden Olympics berth. 

“I think this is my best performance, but I think I can fix some things more because I lost. If I lose, that means I have to fix something because I always aim for gold and not bronze,” added Tsukii. – Rappler.com 

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.