Volleyball’s loss is judo’s gain
KUALA LUMPUR—If her mother had the choice, Kiyomi Watanabe should be spiking volleyballs instead of hurling opponents to the mat.
But Irene Watanabe, who used to play volleyball, said her daughter would secretly train in judo in school. She ended up becoming MVP and things were never the same again.
Born in Cebu City and raised in a town near Mt. Fuji in Japan, Kiyomi is the third in a brood of five. Irene is married to Japanese Sinero Watanabe.
The family transferred to Japan when Kiyomi was 10.
“This is the first time her father was watching, he also didn’t approve of her playing judo at first,” bared Irene.
On Saturday evening, both parents were cheering for her at the sideline as she pinned down Orapin Senatham for the gold. She also beat the Thai for the gold two years ago.
“She doesn’t want me giving interviews during her matches,” said Irene. “She wants to keep it low key.”
Irene was the opposite as she unabashedly gave pointers during the -63 kilogram final.
“We can’t tell. There are many factors like the mat,” added Irene as the crowd counted for themselves to 20 seconds for the ippon win.
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