Watanabe to compete in Hungary
KUALA LUMPUR -After winning her third straight gold medal in the 29th Southeast Asian Games judo competition here, Filipino-Japanese Kiyomi Watanabe will join the World Judo Championships next week in Budapest, Hungary.
Philippine Amateur Judo Association (PAJA) president Dave Carter said the tournament in Hungary is one of the qualifying tournaments for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"She has to compete in other ranking tournaments to earn more points," said Carter in an interview on Saturday night at the Philippine secretariat office in Sunway Putra Hotel here.
Carter said the 21year-old Watanabe was scheduled to fly back to Manila on Sunday afternoon, a day after winning the gold medal in the women's under 63kg event, to catch a flight to Budapest.
The World Judo Championship will be held at the Budapest Sports Arena from August 28 to September 3. The tournament features seven weight categories and team events in both men's and women's divisions.
“Her triumph here in Malaysia has bolstered her morale and fighting spirit in her quest for glory. Hopefully, she will do well in Hungary," said Carter, who also teaches judo at the Universidad de Manila.
Carter, who is also an international judo judge, stressed the need for Watanabe to compete abroad.
“We want to give her enough foreign exposure because she is our top bet for the gold in the Tokyo Olympics. Allowing her to compete in highly competitive judo tournaments will sharpen her skill,” said Carter, who is also a multi-titled athlete before he became the judo association president three years ago.
Watanabe's training is being handled by Japanese coach Yazaki Yuta and national coach Roland Llamas.
Watanabe was born and raised in Tokyo. Her Cebuana mother, Irene Sarausap, is married to Japanese Shigeru Watanabe. PNA