Watanabe rules Hong Kong junior judo tournament
Kiyomi Watanabe made a historic feat for Philippine judo as she won a gold medal in the 15th Asian Junior Judo Championships held last Dec. 13 and 14 in Hong Kong.
The 18-year-old Watanabe defeated Aigerim Abilkadirova of Kazakhstan in the finals of the women’s -63kg division to become the first Filipino lady to win a gold medal in an Asian-level juniors competition.
Watanabe, who won a Southeast Asian Games gold medal in Myanmar last year, had a marked improvement from last year’s competition where the Filipino-Japanese judoka trained by Yazaki Yuta settled for a bronze medal in Hainan, China.
“This is a historic moment for Philippine judo. We look forward to more accomplishments from our athletes in the future, thanks to the decision of the Philippine Sports Commission to include judo as part of the priority sports list,” said Philippine Judo Federation president Dave Carter.
En route to winning gold, Watanabe beat Tursunpashasha Nurmetova of Uzbekistan in the first round, then advanced into the finals with a win over Renu Kundu of India.
Bianca Mae Estrella finished fifth in the women’s -78kg division of the event where Japan was the overall champion by winning six gold medals.
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