Philippine judokas gun for 2 gold medals

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Philippines is eyeing a pair of gold medals when the judo competition of the 29th Southeast Asian Games kicks off today at the KL Convention Center here.

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The six-man judo team earlier promised to capture four medals, two of which are gold, while the rest may be either silver or bronze medals.

“We are trying to get four medals, two gold medals, but we are assured of one sa event ni Kiyomi (Watanabe),” said Philippine Judo Federation president David Carter.

“Lahat naman sila medal potentials, pero mahirap mangako sa makukuha.”

The 20-year-old, 5-foot-7 Watanabe of Cebu City grew up in Japan and is eyeing her third straight gold medals in four SEA Games appearances.

She won a gold in the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games and two more from the 2015 Singapore SEA Games, both in the women’s 63-kilogram event, the same event that she will also see action here.

She also settled for the bronze medal during her first participation in the biennial meet in 2011 in Jakarta Games in the higher 70kg category.

The other four Filipino-Japanese, who are also eyeing gold medals are Kohei Kohagura in the 81kg, 20-year-old twin brothers Kensei Nakano (73kg) and Kensei Nakano (66kg) in the men’s division and 16-year-old MariyaTakahasi in the women’s 70kg category.

The sixth man in the team is homegrown talent 17-year-old Sydney Sy Tancontian of Davao City, a product of the Philippine Sports Commission-Batang Pinoy/Women’s Martial Arts Festival in the 78kg class.

Three judokas are seeing action starting at 2 p.m. while other members of the team will test their mettle Sunday.

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