Watanabe starts Olympic qualifying journey in Portugal

Kiyomi Watanabe judo

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

Kiyomi Watanabe was visibly disgusted with the best way 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 decided greater than ever for a return stint to the Summer time Video games in Paris 2024.

“I’m certain extra athletes wish to qualify for Paris since well being protocols (resulting from COVID-19) have already been relaxed. I anticipate a stiffer competitors to earn a spot,’’ stated Watanabe in Japanese.

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

Tough street

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 process forward as she must rank on the earth’s high 17 in her weight class for a direct qualification, or not less than 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 mounted variety of factors, however they need to be inside the high variety of opponents inside every occasion,’’ stated Philippine Judo Federation Secretary Common 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 resulting from a foot harm, 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 gather 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 the earth rankings, and the Nakano twins are additionally wanting on the Asian Video games in Hangzhou, China, in September to extend their rating previous to the Olympic qualification cutoff.

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