Judo federation optimistic PH athletes can bag more Olympic berths
The Philippine Judo Federation continues to find ways to train despite the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as the association tries to book as many slots as possible for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.
“So far everyone is okay. We have athletes deployed in different parts of Metro Manila,” judo association president David Carter told the Inquirer on Friday.
Carter said most of the national team members based here are also enlisted men in the Coast Guard and the military now serving as front-liners in these quarantined times.
Leading the homegrown judokas who are now at the front lines is two-time Southeast Asian Games champion Gilbert Ramirez, who is with the Philippine Air Force.
Carter said the Japan-based judokas are having “their own private training.”
Japan, the Games’ host country, is also badly hit by the pandemic but hasn’t imposed any lockdown on its citizens.
As it is, SEA Games four-time champion Kiyomi Watanabe is virtually assured of a spot in the Olympics on account of her high world ranking.
But Carter said the country is hoping to squeeze in more athletes through qualifying meets once the pandemic ends.
“We remain positive [that we’ll get] more slots; it could be one of the Nagano brothers,” Carter said.
Shugen Nagano bagged one of the three golds during the last SEA Games, winning the men’s 66-kilogram title. His brother Kenzei settled for bronze in 73 kg. Mariya Takahashi captured the other gold (74 kg). INQ