Judo action in the 30th Southeast Asian Games begins today at the Laus Group Events Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.
Two Filipina judokas — Noemi Candari and Helen Dawa — will compete in the women’s kata.
Filipino-Japanese Kiyomi Watanabe, 23, the country’s top female judoka who is almost assured of qualifying for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, will start her title retention bid in the minus 63kg class on Thursday.
Two years ago, Watanabe bagged the gold medal at the expense of Orapin Senatham of Thailand.
Indonesia, which topped the medal standings in the discipline two years ago, will be led by Iksan Apriyadi.
Philippine Judo Federation president Dave Carter is confident Filipino judokas can win six to seven gold medals in 16 events.
Aside from Watanabe, five other Filipino-Japanese judokas are in the Philippine team — Maria Takahasi, Heisei Nakano, Shugen Nakano, Shin Matsumura and Riyoko Salinas.