Tokyo Olympics: Flag-bearer Watanabe opens vs Spanish judo bet on July 27 | Inquirer Sports

Tokyo Olympics: Flag-bearer Watanabe opens vs Spanish judo bet on July 27

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 11:05 AM July 23, 2021
 Philippines' Kiyomi Watanabe and Malaysia's Nik Azman Nik compete during the women's -63 kg in 30th SEA Games Judo

FILE — Philippines’ Kiyomi Watanabe and Malaysia’s Nik Azman Nik compete during the women’s -63 kg in 30th SEA Games Judo on December 5, 2019. INQUIRER PHOTO/ Sherwin Vardeleon

TOKYO—Filipino judo star Kiyomi Watanabe makes her Tokyo Olympics debut on Tuesday when she takes on Spain’s Cristina Cabana Perez at Nippon Budokan here.

Watanabe needs three victories to assure herself of a medal in the -63 kilogram women’s division.

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“I will do my best for the people to enjoy the match in front of their TV since [the] Olympics this time will be with no spectators,” Watanabe said in Japanese in an interview with the Inquirer’s SportsIQ. “Please continue to support me.”

The 28-year-old Perez ranked ninth in this year’s world championships in Budapest, Hungary, the same event where Watanabe finished at no. 19.

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Watanabe, who is hoping to medal here and win the gold in the 2022 Asian Games, will be one of the flag-bearers of the country in the opening ceremony later Friday.

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