Karate: Junna Tsukii trains in Serbia ahead of another Olympic qualifier

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2021 09:42 PM

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Filipina-Japanese karateka Junna Tsukii is not wasting her time as she gears up for another Olympic qualifying tournament, this time in Paris, to clinch a ticket for the Tokyo Games this year. 

In an interview with ANC, Tsukii opened up about her preparations to qualify for the biggest sporting event in the world after winning a gold medal in the Karate Premier League in Lisbon, Portugal early this month. 

According to the SEA Games gold medalist, she is currently training in Serbia where she is being helped by a karate world champion.

Tsukii explained that she chose the European country to continue her training because the gym is accessible and easy to visit despite the pandemic. 

She is targeting at least a bronze medal in the Paris tournament next month which will propel her to the Olympics. 

“We have tournament next month in Paris. I need to get medal there. If I can get medal, I'm sure I go to Olympics,” she said. 

Tsukii also bared how she keeps herself motivated to get better in practice, realizing other athletes continued their training amid the COVID-19 threat. 

“Every day my body is pain, tired, my muscle is pain. Sometimes I can't wake up from (being) tired. But even that, I try my best every day for this tournament,” Tsukii revealed. 

Instead of scouting her opponents, she said she is more focused on pushing herself and working doubly hard on her weaknesses. 

“It's not about the other. It’s myself. Even you're tired, I push myself. You do more. You can do more,” she shared. “I accept my weakness. And next, I try to fix it.”

After settling for bronze in the 2017 SEA Games, Tsukii vowed to return with vengeance which turned out to be fruitful, reaping the gold in 2019 edition. 

She first learned about the inclusion of karate in the Olympics around 2015 when she was still with the Japanese national team. 

Tsukii eventually found her heart closer to the Philippines and chose it to represent in the tournaments. 

“I want to represent the Philippines and get gold medal,” she proudly said.