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MANILA, Philippines – Filipino-Japanese karateka Junna Tsukii lashed back at several detractors questioning her heritage following her silver-medal finish at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Tsukii, the runner-up in the women’s -50kg kumite final, lamented on her Facebook page by posing a question on her fellow Filipinos’ idea of “Filipino-ness.”
“What is your idea of Filipino-ness? First of all, my mother is Filipino. I was born in Pasay. I have been a member of the Philippine karate team for 6 years,” wrote Tsukii, who added that the commentor could get away with it by deleting the remark.
“But unlike these people, I am proudly fighting with my face and name. I am proud of my brave heart and of my mother who gave me Filipino blood,” she continued.
A particular male commentor asked whether Tsukii was indeed Filipino since her facial features and name seem more Japanese, just like her father.
“Paano naging pinay yan? Pangalan at hitsura walang bakas ng pagiging pilipino,” the post said.
(How is she a Filipina? Her looks and name have no trace of being Filipino.)
Tsukii, though, made sure to answer back just like in previous instances where the outspoken Filipina had to explain her roots.
The post added to a frustrating weekend for Tsukii, who lamented that she was robbed of a SEA Games gold medal.
Following the controversial loss to Malaysia’s Shahmalarani Chandran, Tsukii refused to stand on the podium during the awarding ceremonies.
“I hope sports is just always fair. I’m not saying, ‘Please give me the win.’ If I lose, I’ll accept it,” she told Rappler in a post-match interview in Cambodia.
“I didn’t go back home, I didn’t meet my family, friends. I give everything for karate, for this moment. But still I’m proud of what I did for this,” she furthered.
Tsukii was a gold medalist in the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, United States, as well as a SEA Games gold medalist in the 2019 edition, and a bronze winner in the 2018 Asian Games. – Rappler.com