JAKARTA – Kiyomi Watanabe will shoot for the gold on Thursday afternoon after reaching the final of women’s -73 kg in judo.
The Fil-Japanese judoka beat Orapin Senatham of Thailand in the quarterfinals and Gankhaich Bold of Mongolia in the semifinals to advance into the gold medal match slated Thursday at 4 p.m. (5 p.m. Manila time) at the Jakarta Convention Center.
Watanabe, who turned 22 last August 25, is now assured of the first judo medal by a Filipino since the sport was included in the Asiad calendar in 1986 - and a much better finish than her seventh place in the 2014 Asiad in Incheon.
The reigning Southeast Asian Games champion, however, faces a daunting task in the final as she will be facing no less than last year’s Asian Championship winner, Nami Nabekura, of Japan.
Other Filipino judokas were not as fortunate as SEA Games gold medalist Mariya Takahashi lost in the women’s -63kg quarterfinals and in the repechage to miss out on a bronze medal.
On the other hand, Keisei Nakano was defeated in the men’s -73kg round-of-16 while Megumi Kurayoshi lost in her first match in the round-of-16 of the women’s -57kg.