Watanabe sets eyes on 2020 Tokyo


Filipino-Japanese judoka Kiyomi Watanabe will have a busy 2018 as she aims to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

The 21-year old Watanabe is currently ranked 21st in the International Judo Federation rankings.

“There are lots of tournaments lined up for her this coming year but we’re still finalizing the details and also waiting for the approval of the Philippine Judo Federation and the Philippine Sports Commission,” said Irene Watanabe, Kiyomi’s mother who also serves as her coach.

Watanabe will be seeing action in the Paris Grand Slam to be held from February 10 to 11 in France, the Dusseldorf Grand Slam from February 23 to 25 in Germany and the Agadir Grand Prix from March 9 to 11 in Morocco.

Kiyomi Watanabe PSC/POC POOL PHOTO

All those events are sanctioned by the world governing body for judo and offer ranking points for the Olympics.

“We would like to give her and other athletes as much exposure as possible. We want them ready for the Asian Games in Indonesia and the Olympic Games in Japan,” Irene stressed.

This year, Watanabe won five medals in different international tournaments.

Recently, she won bronze in the 2017 Asian Open Judo Championships held at the Tin Shui Wai Sports Center in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

Watanabe also snatched the gold in the Asian Open Women’s Judo Championship in Taiwan in July, silver in the European Open Women’s Judo Championship in Austria in February, and bronze in the 2017 World Judo Tour – Paris Grand Slam in France also in February.

She also earned her third-straight gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August.

The other tournaments she will be preparing for in 2018 are the Ekateringburg Grand Slam in Russia (March 17 to 18), Tblisi Grand Prix in Georgia (March 30 to April 1), Antalya Grand Prix in Turkey (April 6 to 8), Hohhot Grand Prix in China (May 25 to 27), Cancun Grand Prix in Mexico (June 15 to 17), Zagreb Grand Prix in Croatia (July 27 to 29), Baku World Championships and Teams in Azerbaijan (September 20 to 27), Tashkent Grand Prix in Uzbekistan (October 12 to 14), Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in United Arab Emirates (October 26 to 28), The Hague Grand Prix in the Netherlands (November 16 to 18), Osaka Grand Slam in Japan (November 23 to 25) and Saint Petersburg Masters in Russia (December 15 to 16).


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