Karate athlete Junna Tsukii won the hearts of the crowd after she brought home the gold medal for her event during the 2019 SEA Games. Her strikingly girlish features made people wonder how old the talented competitor was, and her cheerful smile and sunny demeanor added even more to the public’s interest in this rising sports star. Now, Junna took to Facebook to share her personal story of growth, overcoming adversities, and Filipino pride – A true SeaGames Story!
Junna’s love for the Philippine is obvious. Despite the many curveballs and barriers life threw her way, she pushed past them and moved forward towards her goals.
An inspiration to the youth and to us all, Junna shows how hard work, grit, dedication, and spirit can propel us forward.
Among the most touching of the details in her story is her outline of the love affair that started it all was how she recounted the love she felt for the Philippines.Describing the Philippines as her “motherland”, Junna recounts how she was born in Pasay city to a Filipina mother.However, she quickly moved to Japan as a young child and does not remember much about the country of her birth or maternal family.
But in 2017, she decided that the Philippines was where she wanted to live our her dream. Moving here from Japan was not easy for Junna. But she persevered, taught herself English, and continued to pursue her SEA Games and Olympic dreams.
Still, even with her humongous sacrifices, she was met with further challenges. After the 2017 SEA Games, she tore her right anterior cruciate ligament. She underwent surgery in November that year and only regained the ability to walk by the next February. Still, she pushed on and recovered to be able to compete in the Asian Games held just 9 months after her surgery. She would not let an injury like this sabotage her dreams.
Junna’s investments into herself and her dream paid off. After years of working on herself and her sport, she finally won her coveted gold medal during the 2019 SEA Games.
We are proud to see her carry our flag!