After falling just short of a gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games, Filipino-Japanese judoka Kiyomi Watanabe is now setting her sights on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. Olympic Judo fans from all over the world can book Olympic Judo tickets online.
Watanabe, a three-time gold winner in the Southeast Asian Game, bowed to Japanese rival Nami Nabekura in the final of the -63 kilograms separation in the Asiad last week to settle for the silver medal.
“Before my last game, I was really anxious so I could not do my best,” the 22-year-old Watanabe self-confessed after the competition. “I have been practicing with her in Japan, and I had a plan, but I couldn’t execute it.”
However Watanabe unsuccessful to reach the top of the podium, her silver medal was still much valued by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas and Philippine Judo Federation (PJF) president David Carter — both of whom are backing Watanabe to make it to the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.
“I was hoping her to go for the Olympics,” said Vargas. “I was told that as of her ranking, this very moment, she’s qualified all ready for the Olympics.” “So she just has to continue to keep her ranking there, and we’ll see her in the Olympics,” he added.
Certainly, if the Tokyo 2020 Games started today, Watanabe will be one of 37 judokas qualified to contest in the -63 kg division. Nabekura, her Asian Games conqueror, is also qualified. Watanabe is now ranked 19th in the world, while Nabekura is third.
“Currently pasok na pasok siya, Kung ngayon gagawin ‘yung cut off,” Carter told reporters. “Pero of course, we still have two years.” “Pasok siya, ‘yun lang (standing) and dapat alagaan at i-maintain,” he added.
Watanabe, for her part, vowed to do her best to stay on track for her first Olympic stint.
“It will certainly motivate me for the Olympics 2020 Games,” she said of her silver medal finish in Jakarta. “The last time in the Asian Games, I couldn’t get a medal.” “But this time, I did,” she added. “So I am progressing.”
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