MANILA, Philippines – National karateka Junna Tsukii continues to stay on track of a Tokyo 2020 Olympic berth with a bronze medal in the 2020 Karate1 Premier League in Paris on Sunday, January 26.
The Fil-Japanese secured her second bronze in the female -50kg kumite event in a span of two weeks as she exacted revenge over Venezuelan Yorgelis Salazar, 2-0, who beat her in the Series A tournament in Chile.
"I was able to beat the opponent that beat me previously in Chile so I’m extremely happy," Tsukii told Rappler.
"After two Olympic qualifying tournaments, I collected 900 points so far. I’m currently making my way to become one of the top rankers in Asia. So, I’m definitely getting closer to the Olympics."
Tsukii showed her fine form in the tournament when she cruised through the early rounds with an 8-0 thrashing of Bulgarian Kristina Svilenova, a 1-0 win over Hong Kong's Yee Ting Tsang, and a 2-1 victory over Chinese-Taipei's Shiau-Shuang Gu.
The 2019 Southeast Asian gold medalist was relegated to the bronze medal match when she was overpowered by Japan's Miho Miyahara.
The Fil-Japanese karateka is actively joining elite international karate tournaments to earn more points and boost her Olympic ranking.
Tsukii can earn a continental slot to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics if she ranks first in Asia before the direct qualification deadline in April.
The country's top karateka earned the support of the Philippine Sports Commission in her bid to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
After winning the SEA Games gold, Tsukii was controversially bullied by national coach Okay Arpa – an issue that she took to social media. (READ: Junna Tsukii 'bullied' by coach after clinching SEA Games karate gold) – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine 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.