Watanabe steers Waseda University to victory anew
BARELY two months before the 18th Asian Games, three-time Southeast Asian games gold medalist judoka Kiyomi Watanabe got a much needed boost of confidence by anchoring her school, Waseda University, to its third straight All-Japan University Championships last week.
Watanabe was also named as the Most Valuable Player for the third straight time in the event.
Her team was also accorded the honor of being the Best Ippon Athletes of the year.
Watanabe’s mother, Cebuana Irene Sarausad, said that they’re very happy with this achievement of her daughter ahead of the Asian Games in August in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Prior to the Asian Games, Watanabe will be competing in two other events, the Grand Prix Zagreb Croatia on July 27 and the Grand Prix Budapest Hungary on August 12.
Sarausad explained that it is very important for her daughter to compete every month to add to her world ranking, as she needs to be in the top 12 to be able to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which is her long-term goal.
The qualifying for the Olympic judo competition has changed. Winning gold in the SEA Games or the Asian Games will no longer qualify a judoka to the Olympics.
He or she has to accumulate enough points from international competitions sanctioned by the International Judo Federation as an Olympic qualifier to enter the top 12 in the world rankings and qualify for the Olympics.
Each of the 12 should also come from one country only.
Watanabe’s current rank in the 63 kilograms is 19 out of 253 athletes.
In the upcoming Asian Games, the half-Filipino-half Japanese, who opted to play for the Philippines, hopes to improve her seventh place finish in the 2014 Asian Games which was held in South Korea.
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