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Tsukii confident of chances in Asian karate

/ 04:01 AM December 06, 2021


Junna Tsukii will take a far different approach when she competes in the Asian championships, where she is one of the hot favorites for the 50-kilogram gold medal. —SHERWIN VARDELEON

Junna Tsukii is using her string of international defeats to become better as she sets her sights on winning the next big tournament ahead: The 17th Asian Karate Championships in two weeks in Kazakhstan.

The world No. 5 and Asian No. 1 in the women’s 50-kilogram division believes that she has trained enough and learned her lessons in past matches and is ripe for a gold medal in the prestigious event set Dec. 19-22 in Almaty.

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“My coaches have helped me improve my program, I’m very excited,” said Tsukii, the current Southeast Asian Games champ and Asian Games bronze winner who will lead Team Philippines, during the recent PSC Hour.

“The best fighters [in my division come from] Iran. China is always tough and of course, Kazakhstan, which is the host country. But I have won over them in some tournaments,” Tsukii said.

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Tsukii said “everyone has a strong chance” of winning in Kazakhstan, referring to the rest of Team Philippines who are with her now in the Baguio City bubble training camp.

I’m very glad to be training with them,” said Tsukii who, prior to coming to Baguio, trained solo in Japan and Serbia for several months.

Tsukii, ranked second in the Karate Premier League, blamed over-eagerness for her recent failures for Team Philippines, especially in the 2019 edition of the tournament where she bombed out early like in the Olympics and Dubai World Championships.

“I was too eager because I know my performance there would lead me to qualify for the Olympics,” she said. “So my movements were stiff and I didn’t relax.”

Born to a Filipino mother in Pasay City, but living in her father’s home country of Japan, Tsukii obviously knows what to do this time.

“Sometimes the biggest fight you will face is against yourself and not against an opponent,” said Tsukii. “But to overcome that I always imagine the victory after all the hardships.” INQ

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TAGS: 2019, Asian, gold medal, Karate, medal, Tsukii
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