Kiyomi Watanabe is on the verge of clinching a ticket to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
This as the four-time Southeast Asian Games champion currently stands in 38th place in the latest International Judo Federation (IJF) rankings in the minus-63 kg with 1,496 points and is, so far, qualified to the Games as a continental quota place.
The Cebu-born Watanabe will emerge as the top Asian across all weight classes of both genders as hosts Japan, China, and Korea grabe direct qualification berths when the qualifying period ends next month, Philippine Judo Federation president Dave Carter explained.
The 2018 Asian Games silver medalist will try to earn the country another slot in the Tokyo Games as she aims for good results at next month’s World Championships in Budapest, Hungary for direct qualification.
If Watanabe secures direct qualification, the continental quota will be turned over to one of the two other top Filipino judokas in brothers, Shugen or Kodo Nakano.
Kodo Nakano bagged the country’s second consecutive ticket to the Olympics after getting a Tripartite Commission Invitation four years ago in Rio. He followed Tomohiko Hoshino’s stint in the 2012 London Games.