WATANABE BAGS SILVER
JAKARTA — Kiyomi Watanabe ran right smack into a superior Japanese enemy on Thursday night and settled for second in the 18th Asian Games’ judo competition for women in the 63-kilogram class to give the Philippines its first silver medal here.
“I was very nervous, I faced a strong player in this competition,” the 22-year-old Watanabe, whose mother is Filipino and who was born in Cebu, said through an interpreter at the Gelora Bung Karno’s Jakarta Convention Center. “It’s a very strong field.”
Watanabe lost by ippon after a second Waza-ari by Nami Nabekura with 1:53 left in the four-minute gold medal match, as the Philippines’ medal haul was jacked up to 4-1-13 (gold, silver, bronze) for 17th overall as of press time.
China continued its assault in this 45-nation Olympics of the region with 230 medals in total, counting 108 gold, with host Indonesia remaining to be the best-placed Southeast Asian country at fourth spot overall with 30-22-37.
“A (silver) medal is OK,” Watanabe said. “I was just very nervous in the last match.”
Watanabe’s performance came on the heels of her teammates exiting in the earlier rounds, with Mariya Takahashi losing to Mongolia’s Naranjargal Tsend-Ayush in the 70-kilogram division’s repechage and miss out in bagging bronze.
Also eliminated were Megumi Kurayoshi in the women’s 57-kg., and Keisei Nagano, who bowed out in the round of 16 of the men’s 73-kg division after losing by ippon to Mohammad Mohammadi Barimanlou of Iran with 55 seconds left.
“Every day is a challenging day, because the field is so strong,” Watanabe, who won gold in her division in the last three editions of the Southeast Asian Games, said before walking away.
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