From bronze to gold for Ramirez, Watanabe
NAYPYITAW—Kiyomi Watanabe and Gilbert Ramirez easily subdued their rivals Friday as Filipino judokas pinned down two golds in the 27th Southeast Asian Games here.
Watanabe, who earned a berth in the 2014 Youth Olympics in China, scored an ippon after sending Thi Hoa Bui of Vietnam to the ground with brute force in the women’s -63 kg finale at the Zayar Thiri Indoor Stadium.
Flashing vintage form, Ramirez reclaimed his 73-kg title after an overpowering performance that forced Banpot Lerthaisong of Thailand to tap out.
Ramirez, gold medalist in the Southeast Asian championship two months ago, was the king of the mat in his weight category during the 2003 Vietnam and 2005 Manila editions.
“I waited eight years for this,” Ramirez, who took over from the legendary John Baylon as one of the team leaders.
Watanabe, a 16-year-old Filipino-Japanese, finished off the Vietnamese with still 1:30 remaining in the round.
“I believe in her skills. She’s determined to go to the Olympics,” said coach Rolan Llamas.
Salvaging a silver was Jenielou Mosqueda, who lost to Thailand’s Om Pongchaliew in the women’s -57 kg.
Mosqueda, Ramirez and Watanabe improved on their bronze finish in 2011 in Indonesia.
The judokas earlier delivered a silver and a bronze with Helen Dawa losing to a Vietnamese in the finals of the women’s under 48 kg. Bryan Quillotes settled for the bronze in the men’s under 60 kg category.
2011 silver medalist Ruth Dugaduga (women’s +78 kg) and Angelo Gumila (men’s -90 kg) aim for more golds on Saturday.
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