FIRST SILVER Kiyomi Watanabe of the Philippines in action against Nami Nabekura of Japan during the women’s 63 kg judo event of the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday.
Judoka Kiyomi Watanabe failed to win a gold medal but gave the Philippines its first silver medal in the 18th Asian Games on Thursday at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Despite her early back-to-back triumphs, the Filipino-Japanese was overpowered by a younger Japanese foe Nami Nabekura via ippon (10-0) in the last round of the -63 kg women’s judo competition.
Watanabe fought gallantly but the 21-year-old reigning back-to-back Grand Prix champion and former world junior winner was too experienced and too strong for her.
Alhough she did not get a gold medal just like four other Filipinas did– Hidilyn Diaz, golfer Yuka Saso, Philippine women’s golf team and skateboarder Margielyn Arda Didal, the Olympic silver medalist Diaz of weightlifting still congratulated Watanabe for her accomplishment in the quadrennial meet.
“Hi Kiyomi [Watanabe]. It’s alright; congratulations, you did your best. We will target the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Enjoy your day,” said Diaz through an online message sent to The Manila Times after Watanabe’s final match.
Watanabe will receive P2 million in cash as a reward for winning a silver medal from the government (P1 million), the Philippine Olympic Committee (P500,000) and the Siklab Atleta Sports Foundation of businessman Dennis Uy (P500,000).
An Asiad gold medal is worth P6 million while bronze is worth P950,000.
The Philippines has now a total of 18 medals: four gold, one silver and 13 bronze medals.
Prior to the gold medal round, the 22-year-old Watanabe mastered in just one minute and 45 seconds Gankhaich Bold of Mongolia via waza-ari in the quarterfinals.
She made it to the semifinals after beating Thai Orapin Senathan in one minute and 17 seconds via ippon.
That was her second victory against the Thai, whom she defeated for the gold in the Malaysia Southeast Asian Games last year.
A three-time SEA Games gold medalist, Watanabe is ranked No. 10 by the International Judo Federation.
Mariya Takahashi was not fortunate as Watanabe after losing to South Korea’s Kim Seongyeon via ippon (10-0) in women’s -70kg quarterfinal round.
She later lost to Naranjargal Tsend-Ayush (Mongolia) via ippon in women’s 70kg repechage.
Keisie Nagano won his first match against Eyal Salman Younis of Jordan in the men’s –73-kg round of 32 via wza-ari in four minutes.
He, however, lost to Mohammad Mohammadi Barimanlou of Iran via ippon (0-10) in the round of 16.
Another Filipino, Megumi Kurayoshi, suffered defeat earlier to Hong Kong’s Leoung Po Sum in the women’s -57kg Round of 16.
In other events, Filipino table tennis player Jann Mari Nayre lost to Wong Chun Ting of Taiwan, 1-4, in the men’s singles round of 32.
Earlier, Nayre won over Ebrahim Abdulhakim Mohammed Gubran (Yemen), 4-0, in the round of 64. / BY JOSEF T. RAMOS, TMT
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