SEA Games champion Watanabe braces for Olympic qualifying events

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Filipino-Japanese Kiyomi Watanabe pins down her opponent during the All Japan College University Championship held in Tokyo. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Filipino-Japanese Kiyomi Watanabe pins down her opponent during the All Japan College University Championship held in Tokyo. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Filipino-Japanese Kiyomi Watanabe has been honored with citation in the prestigious Annual Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Awards Night held on Saturday at the One Esplanade in Pasay City.

The 19-year-old Watanabe was selected based on her exploits in the 28th Southeast Asian Games held in Singapore last year where she won a gold medal in the women’s 63-kilogram event.

It was actually her second gold medal in the SEA Games after ruling the same weight class in the 27th edition held in Naypyitaw, Myanmar in 2013.

“We’re thankful to the Philippine Sportswriters Association for recognizing the efforts of Kiyomi and all athletes who are fighting for our country. It’s an honor to be part of the awardees and we are grateful that Kiyomi is one of them,” said Watanabe’s mother Irene.


Watanabe earned a gold in the 8th Asian Judo Championship in 2014 and a bronze in the 7th Asian Judo Championship in 2013. She also placed seventh in the 2014 Asian Games held in Incheon, South Korea.

Watanabe bagged golds in the All Japan College University Championship and All Japan Teams Championship in 2015 and a silver in the All Japan High School Judo Championship in 2014.

“I would also like to thank the Philippine Sports Commission for supporting the campaign of Kiyomi as she vies for slot in the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Right now, Kiyomi is in deeep preparation for her upcoming tournaments. She needs to earn more points to qualify in the Olympics,” Irene added.

Watanabe, a second year sports science student at Waseda University, is currently ranked 77th in the world based on the latest rankings of the International Judo Federation. She was among the Top 16 judokas in the recently concluded Judo Grand Slam held in Paris, France.

“Right now, nasa Paris si Kiyomi to undergo intensive training there before competing in another tournament in Germany. We’re hoping that she gets good results in Germany to boost her current ranking,” Irene said referring to the Judo Grand Prix to be held in Dusseldorf Germany on February 19 to 21.

After the Dusseldorf Grand Prix, Watanabe will be seeing action in another Judo Grand Prix in Georgia and the Asian Judo Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

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