Kiyomi Watanabe earns Philippines’ first silver medal in 2018 Asian Games

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 30 2018 06:40 PM | Updated as of Aug 30 2018 08:20 PM

Kiyomi Watanabe of the Philippines (left) and Nami Nabekura of Japan in action in the women's -63 kilograms event in the judo competition of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on Thursday. in action. Nabekura took the gold, while Watanabe finished with the silver. Issei Kato, Reuters

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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