Junna Tsukii delivered a masterful performance to rule the Karate1 Premier League early Monday (Manila time) at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal.
The Filipino-Japanese ace crushed Moldir Zhangbyrbay of Kazakhstan, 2-0, to clinch the gold medal in the women’s -50kg kumite category and gain valuable ranking points that boosted her chances to qualify in the Tokyo Olympics this July.
Prior to that, Tsukii sent world No. 8 Alexandra Recchia of France packing in a stunning 2-0 upset win in the semifinals of this prestigious tourney, where the world’s best karatekas are seeing action.
Tsukii, the gold medalist in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, couldn’t help but admire the most important hardware in her collection.
“Look at my first gold medal on a world-caliber stage,” said the 29-year-old native of Pasay City.
“Thank you so much for all your support. Everybody’s voice is so powerful.”
Karate Pilipinas president Ricky Lim said Tsukii’s victory underscored her readiness to compete in the Summer Games this July.
“We are so happy for her achievement,” said Lim, saying that his ward has a golden chance of emerging victorious in the Karate 2021 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Paris from 11 to 13 June.
“I can see her winning in the Paris Olympic qualifying tournament. She has total control of her game. She is confident and very relaxed.”
Lim said with the way Tsukii performed in Lisbon, it was very obvious that she is ready to become the first karateka in the Olympics.
Tsukii drew a bye in the first round before crushing Daniela Gallego of Colombia, 10-2, in the second round.
Then, she eliminated world No. 3 Sara Bahmanyar of Iran in the third round, 2-1, before edging world No. 6 Radwa Sayed of Egypt in the quarterfinals, 3-2, to book a semifinal duel with Recchia in the semifinals.
Lim said they are now arranging Tsukii’s itinerary so she can join them in their training camp in Istanbul before flying to Paris for the Olympic qualifiers.
Date: May 4, 2021 | By: Ivan Suing | Newspaper: Tribune | Source: https://tribune.net.ph/index.php/2021/05/04/tsukii-clinches-lisbon-gold/?fbclid=IwAR0BHFyFMlFSFYPdzhtvgFAJ4z7kw86_c_UfZIPGzuZNSXG65BGsEebUGAI&__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=c76dde7c48062e00d5511287f9a6db27d0870a1b-1620089491-0-AUdp_hggDKKvxnUR18aT8M3t05P0yjffekN88YLp_MMNthL0hS4yjP8E7ttI7nwb5CkCBtaLnzogWpKcqrUfJTJG9cD0T5ZqSTRZWsO8kbAH05Kj8y5Sh0XexqfHUmaAqLU559eETSNj9bRBGT3UGrFSm9Ki3J9G-p3Oytv7qG20nkf2PmeyDHF2Dt9OfbkK_yET0iOD17U6K6ncLpUTHZc9a1Q3YrBycjPiReibWjHETWHQldBtqJ1InHeAHC45F95w8VPQmtrY5odCDWz0E37OaRUxz9ccfSJ3RfMpsdrbp7F375_sYr8oUKcq6hBvfhGCr3CDvoqZTRS77iQdWSmjB9y4I6WSchbn4TshnZ9rsLqxPEI8Z-XOpuULExQH4Otj8q3XDLrAaBlmlc1PKUr4NC4i5zBXF5AhAgq-s_K_d60vBNdqcfT7RtZP5HCBO2qXyLLzFtM4cp-jzEcnj1Ma5zoR0MTCTRd8JkyW1G1HHpZetYW-nR1d4Zmj1x8X-7v6zrVixPPQlWlRVKLF1tzDx6VRZOQj7G58lvFaKxTA