• SEAG standout Watanabe bags silver in European judo meet

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    Two-time Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) champion Kiyomi Watanabe claimed the silver medal in the 2017 European Open Women Championship held at the Sporthalle in Oberwart, Austria.

    The 20-year-old Filipino-Japanese judoka settled for the runner-up honor after losing to Kathrin Unterwurzacher of the host country in the championship round of the women’s under 63-kilogram class.

    Watanabe earned a spot in the finals by ousting Aimi Nouchi of Japan in the semifinals, Magdalena Krssakova of Austria in the quarterfinals, Lubjana Piovesana of Great Britain in the third round and Francesa Busto of Italy in the second round.

    Kiyomi Watanabe (top) PHOTO FROM IJF.ORG

    She had an opening-round bye in the tournament that drew some 200 judokas from different parts of the world.

    “It’s an important win to earn more points to improve her ranking in the International Judo Federation list, which will be the basis to qualify to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” said Watanabe’s mother Irene.

    It was Watanabe’s second straight medal in an International Judo Federation-sanctioned event following her bronze-medal finish in the 2017 Grand Slam Paris held in France two weeks ago.

    Watanabe placed third behind gold medalist Tina Trtenjak of Slovenia and silver winner Clarisse Agbegnenou of France.

    Watanabe, who ruled the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Naypyitaw, Myanmar and the 2015 Singapore SEA Games, will be seeing action next in the 2017 Grand Prix Dusseldorf scheduled on February 24 to 26 at the Rather Dome in Dusseldorf, Germany.

    “Right now, Kiyomi is in deep preparation for her upcoming tournaments. She needs to earn more points. We’re hoping that she gets good results in Germany to boost her current ranking,” Watanabe’s mother added.

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