JAKARTA —(UPDATED) Judoka Kiyomi Watanabe earned the Philippines’ first silver medal of the 2018 Asian Games on Thursday evening, after bowing to a familiar opponent in the finals of the women’s -63kg division in judo.
Against top-ranked Nami Nabekura of Japan in the gold medal match, Watanabe surrendered a fraction of a point after losing her balance in the first minute, then surrendered full points after getting pinned for 10 seconds in the closing minute of the match.
The 10-0 result in favor of Nabekura forced Watanabe to settle for the silver, a massive improvement from her seventh place finish in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
“Today’s competition has made me a challenger, and Mongolia and Japan are very strong,” Watanabe said through a translator after her match.
“In the last game, maybe I was nervous,” she also acknowledged . “I have been practicing with her in Japan, and I had a plan, but I couldn’t execute it.”
Though she fell short of a gold, the 22-year-old Watanabe was still satisfied to have added to the country’s medal haul in these Games.
“The last time in the Asian Games, I couldn’t get a medal, but this time I did,” said the Japan-based Filpina judoka, a Sports Science student at Waseda University in Tokyo. “I am progressing.”
Watanabe, the reigning Southeast Asian Games champion in her division, needed just a minute and 17 seconds to win by ippon over Thailand’s Orapin Senathan in the semifinals.
This marks the first time that the Philippines has won a medal in judo since the sport was introduced in 1986.
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