Karate Pilipinas president Richard Lim believes Filipino-Japanese karateka Junna Tsukii could be the country’s best bet in the sport to secure a ticket in the Tokyo Olympics set July 29 to August 4.

/ 23 January 2021

“Realistically speaking, there are three ways for Junna to qualify, and her best chance is the Paris qualifiers,” said Lim in Tuesday’s online Philippine Sportswriters Association.

Lim was talking about the Olympic qualifying event in Paris, France in June where the top three advances.

The Paris qualifying tourney was not the only chance for Tsukii, there are actually several ways for her, as well as other aspirants, to make the cut. By finishing in the top four in the Olympic ranking system where one gains points from competing in the Premier League and World Championships, top two in the regionals, and as a wild card.

In the current ranking, Tsukii ranked 10th and while the Premier League is still ongoing, she would need to perform harder to qualify through it.

Meanwhile, Lim is hoping Tsukii would be considered in the regional level where she currently ranked No. 3 and has a closer chance of qualifying.

“She is No. 3 in the region right now we’re hoping she would be considered,” said Lim. “Of course, there is still the wild card.”

She had the opportunity of training in Japan and in Serbia late last year. Tsukii is scheduled to participate and try her luck in the Premier League set on February 14 in Portugal.

Moreover, Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Jamie Lim and bronze medal winner Joane Orbon are also among the Filipino athletes who are being tipped to make a big splash in Paris.

With the exception of Tsukii, who is in Japan, and Orbon, who is in Orlando, Florida, Lim and the other locally based Olympic hopefuls are training with fellow aspirants from boxing and taekwondo at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

From there, the national karatekas are looking forward to joining Tsukii in Portugal and Istanbul, Turkey the week after for a three-month camp.

By May 15, they will return to the country and fly to Paris for that one final shot at an Olympic spot.