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Watanabe’s Olympic prep to go full blast

Ian Suyu

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Kiyomi Watanabe shifts her Olympic buildup to a higher gear as she sees action in various international tournaments starting the first week of February.

Philippine Judo Federation president Dave Carter said his prized ward would see action in the Tel Aviv Grand Slam next month to kick off her preparation for the Summer Games this July.

Right now, she is at No. 39 in the world ranking, but her training in Japan is going smoothly, giving her a good chance of further improving her standing despite skipping the Budapest Grand Slam last November.

“She’s continuously training well and will start competing in Israel in the first week of February,” said Carter, a board member of the Philippine Olympic Committee.

“Since they have been training non-stop, we are pretty confident that they will be able to get the points they need for qualification.”

After the Tel Aviv tourney, Watanabe will see action in Dusseldorf, Germany in late February followed by two more international competitions in March and a stint in the Asia-Oceania Judo Championships in April.

Carter said aside from Watanabe, other Olympic hopefuls such as Southeast Asian Games medalists Keisei Nakano and Shugen Nakano are also inching closer for potential qualification in the Olympics.

“After Israel, they will also participate in Dusseldorf and other competitions in March. We are looking to put them in more competitions until the deadline in May,” Carter said.

“Winning podium finishes will be helpful for their bid, but what’s more important is that they will be able to perform well in these events and get as many points as possible.”

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