Being stranded in Japan has benefits for PH judokas
Less restrictive health safety measures in Japan have allowed Olympic-bound judokas led by Olympic-bound Kiyomi Watanabe to ramp up their level of training, Philippine Judo Federation (PJF) president David Carter said on Saturday.
Carter said the loosened quarantine protocols in the Olympic host nation has allowed Watanabe to train in the same level as gymnast Carlos Yulo, who is also based in Japan.
“It’s a high level of training comparable to that of Yulo,” Carter said, adding that Japanese coaches, for whom judo is a way of life, are currently overseeing the training of the country’s Olympic hopefuls. Judo is a martial art that originated in Japan.
Yulo, who has been training there for years, is one of the country’s strongest bets for an Olympic gold, having won the World Championships last year in floor exercise.
“We are happy that they were there (Japan) when lockdown was imposed because there it’s less crowded, they get to run in the oval and even in the streets and they have cleaner environment,” Carter said.
Carter said Watanabe, who is qualified based on her world ranking, is getting stronger and stronger despite suffering elbow injury last March during training.
“Fortunately she’s fully healed. She can do weights training already and perform pull ups,” Carter bared.
Watanabe, 23, has won four golds in the Southeast Asian Games. The PJF expects her to rise in rankings and clear the path for more Filipinos to make the Tokyo Games next year.
Because only one athlete per country per weight class will make it to the Olympics, Carter said brothers Shugen and Kenzie Nakano and Mariya Takahashi still have fighting chance at qualifying as continental rankings are filled with countries with multiple judokas in the same weight category.
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