Tsukii bags gold in Portugal
Junna Tsukii during the 30th Southeast Asian Games held in Manila
Facebook/Junna Tsukii

Tsukii bags gold in Portugal

Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - May 4, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Fil-Japanese Junna Tsukii delivered a tour de force performance worthy of a Tokyo Olympics berth as she topped the Karate Premier League in Lisbon, Portugal over the weekend.

The 29-year-old Southeast Asian Games gold medalist overwhelmed Kazakhstan’s Moldir Zhangbyrbay, 2-0, to snatch the women’s -50k kumite gold, which happened to be her biggest feat to date.

She actually won the gold in the Golden Belt Karate tournament in Cacak, Serbia in March but this most recent one shone the brightest.

“Look at my first gold medal on the world stage,” said Tsukii on her Facebook page. “I would like to thank everyone who have supported me to this point, this medal is for you.”

Tsukii is hoping she earned enough points in Lisbon to propel her to No. 1 in Asia, which would clinch her a spot to the Tokyo Olympics alongside gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam and 2016 Rio Olympics weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz.

She is currently No. 3 behind Sara Bahmanyar of Iran and Li Ranran of China.

Interestingly, Tsukii bested Bahmanyar in the third round, 2-1, that all the more enhanced her Olympic chances.

Otherwise, she gets one last chance in the World Qualifiers in June in Paris, France where the top three per division will advance.

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