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No stone unturned

Watanabe not taking any chances as she makes final push for Tokyo berth
/ 05:30 AM December 28, 2019

KiyomiWatanabe (top) is not leaving anything to chancewhen it comes to punching a ticket to Tokyo.—PHOTO BY SHERWIN VARDELEON

Kiyomi Watanabe may have a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics outright within reach, but she’s not taking any chances.

Watanabe, 23, just came from a tournament in China right after scoring her fourth straight gold medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games early this month.

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David Carter, Philippine Judo Federation president, said Watanabe would continue competing abroad to maintain her ranking and fitness.

“She didn’t need to win, I explained before these competitions are all needed so she could continue to earn points and maybe even improve her rankings,” Carter told the Inquirer.

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At present, Watanabe is 27th in the world in her category, -63 kilograms, and could easily make the Olympic cut.

“Country-wise she is 19th, so if the Olympics cut is now we are definitely in,” added Carter, saying other countries have multiple athletes in each category. The Olympic cutoff is in July.

Watanabe powered the Philippines’ three-gold assault in the biennial games. The other judo gold medalists were Nakano Shugen and Mariya Takahashi.

The Philippines already has two athletes qualified for Tokyo, pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena and gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo.

Weightlifting’s Hidilyn Di­az, Margielyn Didal of skateboarding and the Philippine boxing team are also setting their sights on making the Tokyo roster.

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TAGS: 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 30th Southeast Asian Games, Judo, Kiyomi Watanabe
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