Tsukii moves up in world rankings

Published May 6, 2021, 7:57 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Junna Tsukii (MB File Photo)

Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist Junna Tsukii has moved up in the rankings of the female kumite -50kilogram category as she improved to No. 8 in the list provided by the World Karate Federation (WKF).

Reason of that improvement was the gold medal win of the 29-year-old Tsukii during last week’s WKF Premier League, the first time she ruled the event after winning bronze twice in the past.

“World ranking #8,” said Tsukii in her caption with an emoji of the Philippine flag together with a screenshot of the world ranking on her Facebook page Thursday, May 6.

Tsukii, bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Games, downed two-time world champion Alexandra Recchia of France 2-0 in the semifinal round, and defeated Kazakhstan’s Moldir Zhangbyrbay 2-0 in the final round.

Tsukii now has a total of 4447.50 points after she earned 990 points from winning the Lisbon Premier League in Portugal. Last week before the tournament, she was at 10th spot.

Still at No. 1 in the world rankings is Turkey’s Serap Ozcelik Arapoglu with 11362.50 points, followed by Miho Miyahara of Japan at No. 2 with 6345.00 points, Iran’s Sara Bahmanyar at No. 3 with 6022.50 points, China’s Ranran Li at No. 4 with 5340.00 points, and Germany’s Shara Hubrich at No. 5 with 5197.50 points.

In the top 10 are Radwa Sayed of Egypt at No. 6 (4897.50), Bettina Plank of Austria at No. 7 (4567.50), Alexandra Recchia of France at No. 9 (4185.00) and Bakhriniso Babaeva of Uzbekistan at No. 10 (3727.00).

Tsukii’s campaign in the last Premier League is part of her preparation for the World Karate Championship next month in Paris France, which also serves as an Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).

The qualifying event in Paris is set June 11 to 14, and Tsukii is expected to join the national team training camp in Istanbul, Turkey. The national team will fly to Paris on June 7.

Participants will have to go through the preliminary match and the best finishers per pool will advance in the semifinal round, which is round robin elimination.

Only the top three athletes will earn Tokyo Olympic berths.

Other national team members set to see action in the OQT in Paris are Jamie Lim, Joanne Orbon, who has trained in the US, Ivan Agustin, Shariff Afif, Alwyn Batican and Jason Macaalay.