Virtually qualified, Kiyomi Watanabe misses out on outright Tokyo Olympic judo berth

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Virtually qualified, Kiyomi Watanabe misses out on outright Tokyo Olympic judo berth
Kiyome Watanabe in action in this file photo
STAR / Jun Mendoza

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines failed to earn an extra slot in judo in the Tokyo Olympics in July following an early exit by Kiyomi Watanabe in the women’s -63kg class of the recently concluded World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The 24-year-old Fil-Japanese drew an opening-round bye but she ran into Brazilian Alexia Castilhos in the second round and was shown the door.

The Asian Games silver medalist and four-time Southeast Asian Games gold medal winner would virtually qualify via continental quota but she would have advanced to Tokyo outright with a strong effort in Budapest.

If it had happened, it would have opened up the possibility of her slot going to either one of the Nakano twins — Shugen and Keisei.

But it was not meant to be.

Shugen succumbed to Australia’s Nathan Katz in the men’s -66kg section while Keisei got the boot from Russia’s Makhmaedbek Makhbekov in the -73kg class.

Watanabe will officially clinch her Olympic entry late this month.

She will join pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo, boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, weightlifting Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, rower Cris Nievarez, jin Kurt Barbosa and skateboarder Margie Didal.


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