Watanabe, judokas eye 5 gold medals
Judo hopes to pin down at least five of the 12 gold medals at stake in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
That goal is anchored on Filipino-Japanese youngsters Kiyomi Watanabe and Mariya Takahashi, who both ruled their respective events two years ago in Kuala Lumpur.
“The athletes are truly inspired and proud to wear the Philippine colors in the coming SEA Games,” said Philippine Judo Federation president Dave Carter.
Judo will be played Dec. 4 to 7 at Laus Group Events inside the New Clark City.
The team is arriving Thursday from its training camp in Japan.
Bannering the team is Tokyo Olympics aspirant Watanabe, the 21-year-old champ in 63-kilogram division.
Now ranked 24th in the world, Watanabe hopes to sustain that ranking or even improve from it until May next year, which is the deadline for Olympic cut-off.
Takahashi, 18, rocked the KL Games when she scored an upset ippon victory over four-time defending champion Surattana Thongsri of Thailand in the 70kg final.