Three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Kiyomi Watanabe bagged a bronze medal in the prestigious 2018 International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Slam held at the ISS Dome in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The Filipino-Japanese judoka finished third in the repechage stage where she beat 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Ketleyn Quadros of Brazil in their women’s 63-kilogram match.
Watanabe scored a waza-ari (the second highest score a fighter can achieve in judo) with a sumi-gaeshi (a throw classified as a rear sacrifice technique). She also applied ground pressure on Quadros according to an IJF report.
Watanabe scored two straight victories in Pool D in the early rounds.
She defeated Lucy Renshall of Great Britain in the first round and Maelle Di Cintio of France in the second round.
But Watanabe suffered a third-round loss to Gankhaich Bold of Mongolia and was relegated to the repechage stage.
Watanabe bounced back in the repechage by blasting Prisca Awiti of Mexico and Quadros to eventually win the bronze.
“We’re happy with her achievement. It’s a big boost for Kiyomi as she wants to earn more points to improve her placing in the IJF world rankings. We would like to thank the Philippine Judo Federation and the Philippine Sports Commission for always supporting her,” said Irene Watanabe, mother of Kiyomi.
Before joining the Grand Slam Dusselfdorf, Watanabe had a week-long training camp and a series of tuneup games against 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist Tina Trstenjak of Slovenia in Paris, France.
Last year, Watanabe won five medals in different international tournaments including a gold in the Asian Open Women’s Judo Championship in Taiwan in July and a silver in the European Open Women’s Judo Championship in Austria in February.
Watanabe won bronze medals in the 2017 World Judo Tour – Paris Grand Slam in France also in February and in the 2017 Asian Open Judo Championships in Hong Kong in December.
The 21-year old judoka won her third-straight gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August.