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Filipina-Japanese Karateka Junna Tsukii Nabs Gold in Portugal

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Filipina-Japanese karateka Junna Tsukii bolstered her Tokyo Olympics hopes after capturing a gold medal in the World Karate Federation (WKF) Premier League on Sunday evening in Lisbon, Portugal.

Tsukii, a gold medal winner in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, ruled the Female Kumite -50 kilogram division of the tournament after defeating Moldir Zhangbyrbay of Kazakhstan in the championship match, 2-0.

“I have been waiting for this moment for over a year,” Tsukii said in a story on the WKF website. “My matches here were very difficult. You can tell that the top karatekas in the world are here.”

The 29-year-old Tsukii added that she used this week-long tournament as a preparation as she vies for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics via the qualifying tournament this June in Paris, France.

The Filipina-Japanese karateka reached the championship round after scoring a major upset over two-time world champion Alexandra Recchia of France, 2-0, in the semifinals last Friday.

Prior to that, Tsukii earned a bye in the round-of-64, defeated Daniel Gallego of Colombia in the round-of-32, Sara Bahmanyar of Iran in the round-of-16 and Radwa Sayed of Egypt in the quarterfinals.

Tsukii’s victory in Lisbon, Portugal was her second consecutive golden finish in the last two months after also emerging as champion in the Golden Belt Karate event in Serbia last March.