Kiyomi Watanabe and four other Filipino judokas experienced devastating losses in the judo competition of the 19th Asian Games on Monday at the Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium in Hangzhou.
Watanabe had earned a silver medal in the previous edition of the Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018.
She fell victim to a Japanese powerhouse in the quarterfinals, ending her hopes of medaling in the women’s -63-kilogram class.
Two-time world silver medalist Miku Takaichi displayed her strength by throwing the 27-year-old Watanabe for an ippon within the first 12 seconds of their match, securing a spot in the semifinals.
Watanabe was relegated to the repechage but faced another defeat, this time to Esmigul Kuyolova of Kazakhstan, who also secured an ippon within the first 13 seconds of their encounter.
“Our athletes are in good condition,” said Philippine Judo Federation Secretary General Dave Carter.
“But we got unlucky in the draw. Our athletes were paired against the top seeds in Asia. We will work hard and be better prepared next time.”
Also exiting the competition early were Keisei Nakano, Rena Furukawa, John Ferrer, and Ryoko Salinas.
The 26-year-old Nakano suffered a loss to Asian Games silver medalist Behruzi Khojazoda of Tajikistan via ippon in the Round of 16 of the men’s -73-kg division, while Furukawa fell victim to Momo Tanaoki of Japan, also via ippon, in the Round of 16 of the women’s -57-kg event.
Ferrer, on the other hand, performed well initially by defeating Janga Bahadur Saru of Nepal in the Round of 32 of the men’s 81-kg class before bowing out to Bolor-Ochir Gereltuya of Mongolia in the Round of 16.
Salinas had a promising start when she beat Garima Choundhary of India in the Round of 16 of the women’s 70-kg class. However, she surrendered to Shiho Tanaka of Japan, who secured an ippon in the first 45 seconds of their bout, earning a spot in the semifinals. Salinas then faced a loss to Liao Wun Jung of Chinese Taipei in the repechage, ending her Asiad campaign on a sour note.
Nevertheless, the national judo squad still has an opportunity to salvage some measure of pride as Carl Dave Aseneta and Dylwynn Gimena compete in the continuation of the tournament on Tuesday.