Karate champ laments coach act

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - December 9, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Junna Tsukii won the Southeast Asian Games gold medal in karatedo but instead of being in cloud nine, the Fil-Japanese is feeling miserable.

Tsukii, the newly minted women’s -50 kgs kumite titlist in the biennial meet, lamented how the Philippine team’s coach allegedly bullied her and belittled all her efforts.

“I’m very sad, even (if) I have gold medal,” Tsukii shared on her Facebook account hours after her triumph.

“We had team meeting after our game, and during that meeting, head coach called names of all the players who played today and he said that ‘congrats’ I’m proud of you, but he never said my name and he didn’t look my face,” she lamented.

She didn’t name the coach but the team’s listed coach is Turkish Okay Arpa.

According to Tsukii, she let previous occasions of being deliberately ignored by the coach since she returned from a tournament in Madrid for the sake of the team but couldn’t take Saturday’s incident sitting down. 

“I didn’t want to confuse my team, that’s why I put up with being ignored. But I couldn’t stand being bullied in front of everyone at a team meeting today, so I asked head coach that, ‘Why you didn’t call my name? I also played today.’”

“And he said to me that ‘Because you are not part of the team, that’s why your medal is not for this team or not for this country. And for me you are dead, that’s why I can’t see you because you are dead.’”

The 28-year-old karateka, who defeated Vietnamese Dinh Thi Huong in the final, 1-0, rued it’s an unfair way to treat an athlete who works so hard for flag and country.

“I swear that I (have) always fought for my country. And I am not dead, I am alive. Please stop hurting anymore, please,” she pleaded on her post.

“However, I still want to support the team for the game that will continue tomorrow. And I pray for the victory of all Phl athletes.” ?Despite this experience, Tsukii is determined than ever to compete for the Philippines and try to qualify for the Olympics.


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