Junna Tsukii delivers gold in Lisbon karate meet

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Photo courtesy: Junna Tsukii/Facebook

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 2) – Filipino-Japanese karateka Junna Tsukii clinched the gold in the female kumite -50kg division of the 2021 Karate 1 Premier League in Lisbon, Portugal.

The 29-year-old Tsukii defeated Kazakhstan's Moldir Zhangbyrbay, 2-0, in the division final on Sunday night (Philippine time).

The victory solidified Tsukii's chances of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, where the top four athletes in the world rankings will gain an automatic Olympic berth. She is currently the fifth best karateka in her division in Asia and tenth overall in the world.

In the Lisbon karate meet, Tsukii drew a first round bye to automatically qualify in the second round where she dominated Colombia's Daniela Gallego, 10-2.

Tsukii scored an upset win over world no. 3 Sara Bahmanyar of Iran in the third round, 2-1, to boost her chances of topping the tournament.

The quarterfinal match between Tsukii and world no. 6 Radwa Sayed of Egypt ended with a 1-1 draw but the Filipino-Japanese karateka recorded more flags, 3-2, to advance to the Final Four.

Tsukii humbled world no. 8 Alexandra Recchia of France, 2-0, in the semifinals.

Tsukii, a 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, has been training in Japan with her father.

If she fails to crack the top 4 in the world rankings, Tsukii can still compete in the world Olympic karate qualifiers in Paris, France in June. Other Filipino karatekas like Jamie Lim, Joan Orbon, Sharif Afif, Alwyn Batican and Ivan Agustin are expected to join the tournament.

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