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2020 Tokyo Olympics

Judoka Kiyomi Watanabe officially claims spot in Tokyo Olympics

Kiyomi Watanabe will finally make her much-awaited Olympic debut.

The Philippines’ most successful judoka officially secured her spot in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics after the International Judo Federation published the final and official qualification list, Tuesday.

Watanabe qualified through continental quota in the women’s minus-63 kg following a 41st place-finish with 1506 points.

The 24-year-old judoka got into the Olympic qualification picture after she amassed 320 points in her third round finish in the 2019 World Championships in the very same place where the Olympic competitions will be held — Nippon Budokan.

Watanabe most recently competed in the 2021 edition of the same tournament, but her latest success came with a fifth-place finish at the Asia-Oceania Senior Championships.

She joined Team Pilipinas as its 14th member on the same day Juvic Pagunsan officially claimed his spot in golf.

With her are weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz (minus-55 kg) and Elreen Ando (minus 64kg); boxing flyweight Carlo Paalam, middleweight Eumir Marcial, flyweight Irish Magno, featherweight Nesthy Petecio; gymnast Caloy Yulo; pole vaulter EJ Obiena; jin Kurt Barbosa; rower Cris Nievarez; skateboarder Margie Didal; shooter Jayson Valdez; and golfer Juvic Pagunsan.

Watanabe will also continue the Philippines’ streak in the Olympic participation in the sport after Tomohiko Hoshina in 2012 London and Kodo Nakano in 2016 Rio.

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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