Tokyo Olympics qualification window opens for Junna Tsukii
The World Karate Federation (WKF) announced the revisions of its Olympic qualification system as the quadrennial meet set this year was postponed to July 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The national karateka was slated to join the Karate 1-Premier League in Rabat, Morocco, but the competition was canceled by local authorities due to the virus.
Instead, the sport's international federation will now consider the 2021 edition as a replacement tournament.
The 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist will also be able to earn ranking points in the 2020 Karate World Championships slated to be held in November in Dubai. But Tsukii said there is a chance the competition will be postponed to January.
"I have one premier league and a world championship which I can join for the Olympic selection," said Tsukii, who is currently ranked world No. 9 in the women's -50kg kumite category.
"The world championship, in particular, is the biggest opportunity for me to improve my world rankings since it offers the most points. So I have to train more because I see a big chance for me there."
Since the Tokyo Olympics will be merging the -50kg and -55kg categories, the first stage of qualification will select the two highest-ranked in each standard WKF weight class, while allocating only one slot for each national Olympic committee.
Host country Japan can qualify one athlete into each Olympic category as well.
In the second stage, Tsukii can also qualify via the Olympic qualifying tournament where the 3 highest-placed athletes in each Olympic event will gain an outright berth to the global sports showpiece.
The Filipino-Japanese karateka's last chance to qualify is through the continental representation which will select only two athletes in Asia across all 8 Olympic karate events.
The WKF will select the highest-ranking athlete among all gold medalists of each continental games first. If all gold medalists have already qualified, the process will extend until the bronze medalists and the Olympic standing.
Tsukii continues her normal training in Japan as quarantine restrictions have been lifted across all cities. – Rappler.com