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‘Unfair judges’: Junna Tsukii airs frustration after settling for karate silver at SEA Games 2023

By Brooke Villanueva Published May 07, 2023 1:35 pm

Filipino karateka Junna Tsukii aired her disappointment after settling for a silver medal in karate at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.

In an Instagram post on Saturday, May 6, the athlete thanked her supporters and then expressed her sadness for not taking home the top prize at the competition that she “was convinced” she won.

“Thank you for all the support,” she began.

“I am sad because I am not the color of the medal I wanted. I am sorry I could not meet your expectations,” she wrote, adding that she lost the final by the decision of the referee.

“I was convinced that I had won while waiting for the referee’s call because according to the rules of the game, the referee raises the flag to whoever is the most aggressive and controls the game.” 

“However, I am sorry but I did not stand on the podium because I do not want to be able to accept the unfair judges this time,” she added.

Tsukii ended her post by congratulating the athletes who have taken part in the games thus far. “All athletes have sacrificed and walked for this moment, and I want to honor and congratulate everyone.”

“I will be cheering for my team tomorrow, hoping that many gold medals will be won,” she concluded. 

The Filipino bet also talked about the matter in her Instagram stories and expressed her hope for karate to "become a more fair sport."

"As long as we keep repeating these things, we will never get back to the Olympics as it is," she wrote. "I'm still fighting again."

The Philippine representative competed against Shahmalarani Chandran of Malaysia in the women’s karate -50kg kumite category. After having a 1-1 tie, the judges—and then the referee—ended up awarding the top prize to Chandran. 

The 2023 SEA Games are being held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with athletes from 11 countries vying for gold across 37 sports categories. The event kicked off on May 5 and is slated to run until May 17.