Kiyomi Watanabe to do her best to 'make people in Cebu happy' | Inquirer Sports
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Kiyomi Watanabe to do her best to ‘make people in Cebu happy’

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 07:56 PM July 22, 2021
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.

FILE – 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

TOKYO—Kiyomi Watanabe feels inspired by the impact she has made on sports fans from Cebu, which has embraced the judo star as its own.

“If [excelling in] judo can make people in Cebu happy and have fun, I will continue to practice hard,” Watanabe told Inquirer’s SportsIQ in Japanese recently after a training session here.

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Watanabe, who is hunting for a podium finish in the Tokyo Olympics here, is the daughter of a Japanese man and a Filipino woman from Cebu.

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After dominating the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and finishing with a silver medal in the Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018, Watanabe will be facing tougher foes here. But she will go on preparing the way she always does.

“SEA Games, Asian Games, and the Olympics are all the same competition,” she said. “And I am training just the same so I will compete in the Olympics with that same feeling that I always have. I always intend to compete whatever match it is.”

And with several people rallying behind her, Watanabe hopes to make them proud by putting up a podium-worthy show.

“I will do my best to get a medal in the Tokyo Olympics and contribute to [the joy of] the people who have supported me and the fans who are rooting for me,” the 24-year-old Olympian said.

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