Filipino judokas got off to a flat start in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China with Leah Jhane Lopez and Shugen Nakano exiting in the preliminary rounds at the Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium on Sunday.
Lopez, 23, lost to second-seeded Abiba Abuzhakynova of Kazakhstan via Waza-ari in the Round of 16 of the women’s -48-kilogram category. Nakano bowed to Ryoma Tanaka of Japan via Ippon in the Round of 16 of the men’s -66-kg event.
Nakano, 26, had earlier beaten 21-year-old Saoud Alamiri of Kuwait via Ippon in the Round of 32. However, he could not sustain his momentum against the fourth-seeded Tanaka, who displayed impressive form and completed the victory in just three minutes and five seconds.
“These athletes played really well. Unfortunately, they were paired against top seeds,” Philippine Judo Federation Secretary General Dave Carter said.
The 21-year-old Tanaka will be facing Narmandakh Bayanmunkh of the United Arab Emirates in the quarterfinals.
The Philippines' brightest medal hope in judo is still 2018 Asian Games silver medalist Kiyomi Watanabe, who starts her campaign in the women’s -63-kg class on Monday at the same venue.