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Watanabe begins Olympic qualifying journey in Portugal


FILE – The Philippines’ Kiyomi Watanabe. INQUIRER PHOTO/ Sherwin Vardeleon

Kiyomi Watanabe was visibly disgusted with the way in which her first Olympic journey in Tokyo two years in the past turned out, however the nation’s premier judoka has by no means misplaced coronary heart and is set greater than ever for a return stint to the Summer season Video games in Paris 2024.

“I’m positive extra athletes want to qualify for Paris since well being protocols (because of COVID-19) have already been relaxed. I anticipate a stiffer competitors to earn a spot,’’ mentioned Watanabe in Japanese.

Spain’s Cristina Cabana Perez dismissed Watanabe within the spherical of 32 by way of “ippon” in simply 38 seconds in Tokyo.“After dropping that match, I promised to qualify once more in Paris and win that medal for the Philippines,’’ mentioned Watanabe, who anticipates reclaiming her throne within the Southeast Asian (SEA) Video games in Cambodia barely 4 months from now.

Tough highway

The 2018 Asian Video games silver medalist within the ladies’s -63-kilogram class will resume her hunt for an Olympic berth starting with the Worldwide Judo Federation Grand Prix in Portugal set Jan. 27 to 29, the primary meet of the 2023 World Judo Tour.

The 26-year-old Watanabe, whose mom hails from Mandaue Metropolis, Cebu, has a troublesome job forward as she must rank on this planet’s high 17 in her weight class for a direct qualification, or a minimum of a No. 10 end within the Asian rankings earlier than the qualification ends.

“They’ve to satisfy the cut-off quotas by June 2024. There aren’t any fastened variety of factors, however they need to be inside the high variety of rivals inside every occasion,’’ mentioned Philippine Judo Federation Secretary Normal David Carter.

Different bets

Watanabe, a four-time SEA Video games gold medalist, wasn’t in a position to defend her title within the Vietnam version of the SEA Video games final yr because of a foot damage, however is at the moment in good condition for the qualifiers.

A number of tournaments in Europe and Asia stretched all year long have been marked as Olympic qualifying occasions the place Watanabe might accumulate as many rating factors as potential together with Filipino-Japanese siblings Shugen and Keisei Nakano, who’re likewise dreaming of a Paris stint.

Watanabe, who slipped to No. 117 on this planet rankings, and the Nakano twins are additionally trying on the Asian Video games in Hangzhou, China, in September to extend their rating previous to the Olympic qualification cutoff.

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