Junna Tsukii had a smile on her face as she received her Southeast Asian Games gold medal. Deep inside, though, the 28-year-old karateka was aching.
In a lengthy post, the Filipino-Japanese — who won the -50 kg Kumite — shared what happened in the moments after the event and before the ceremony.
“Today, we had a team meeting after our game. During that meeting, our head coach [Okay Apra] called all the players who played today and said ‘congrats’, ‘I’m proud of you’ to them,” said Tsukii, who won bronze in the Asian Games last year.
“But he never said my name and didn’t even look at my face.”
According to her, she and the coach had not seen eye-to-eye since their tournament in Madrid early this year.
All that while, the coach continued to ignore her, but Tsukii kept it from her team.
But Saturday, she already had enough, asking her coach why this was happening. And his response was allegedly a cold one, to say the least.
“I couldn’t stand being bullied in front of everyone today so I asked head coach, ‘Why you didn’t call my name? I also played today’ to which he said to me that,” she continued.
“‘Because you are not part of the team, that’s why your medal is not for this team or not for this country. For me you are dead, that’s why I can’t see you because you are dead.'”
Still, Tsukii vowed that all of this would not affect her loyalty to her team and love for her country.
“I swear that I always fought for my country. And I am not dead, I am alive. Please stop hurting, please.
“I still want to support the team for the game that will continue tomorrow. And I will continue praying for the victory of all Philippine athletes,” she closed.