Watanabe outclasses foes on her way to SEA Games gold | Inquirer Sports

Watanabe outclasses foes on her way to SEA Games gold

/ 06:44 PM August 26, 2017

Kiyomi Watanabe of the Philippines clinches the gold medal in the women’s -63kg event of the 29th Southeast Asian Games judo competition Saturday at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/SEA GAMES MEDIA POOL

KUALA LUMPUR — Kiyomi Watanabe proved that she’s a cut above the rest after she left a path of destruction on her way to the judo gold in the 29th Southeast Asian Games Saturday.

The 20-year-old Watanabe won all her bouts via ippon — the equivalent of knockout in boxing — taking down Orapin Senatham in just 36 seconds for her third straight SEA Games gold in -63-kilograms division.

“It wasn’t easy,” said Watanabe through her mom Irene who was interpreting from Japanese to Filipino. “There was pressure on my part to win. But she did her best for her country.”

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This early, Watanabe is being groomed for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Watanabe was one of the four Fil-Japanese counted upon to win golds in the competition held at KLCC Hall 5.

But twins Shugen and Keisei Nakano could only produce bronze in their respective divisions.

Shugen came out of the repechage division to edge Ace Ang of Singapore, 3-0, for third place in -66kg.

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His brother Keisei overpowered Uen Xaisengseum Nouvene of Laos via ippon for -73kg bronze.

Watanabe, ranked 23rd in the world in her division, was the most dreaded fighter in the tournament.

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“But I can’t be very sure so I trained very hard,” said Watanabe, who is a sports science major at Wasida University in Japan.

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TAGS: 2017 SEA Games, 29th Southeast Asian Games, gold medal, Judo, Keisei Nakano, Kiyomi Watanabe, Shugen Nakano

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