Kiyomi Watanabe and four other Filipino judokas suffered crushing losses in the judo competition of the 19th Asian Games on Monday at the Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium on Monday, September 25.
Watanabe, who emerged with a silver medal in the previous edition of the Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018, fell prey to a Japanese powerhouse in the quarterfinals to bomb out of medal contention of the women’s -63-kilogram class.
Two-time world silver medalist Miku Takaichi flaunted her strength as she threw the 27-year-old Watanabe for an ippon in the first 12 seconds of their match and booked a slot in the semifinals.
Watanabe was relegated to repechage but lost to Esmigul Kuyolova of Kazakhstan also via ippon in the first 13 seconds of their encounter.
“Our athletes are in good condition,” Philippine Judo Federation Secretary General Dave Carter said.
“But we got unlucky in the draw. Our athletes got paired against the top seeds in Asia. We will work hard and be more prepared next time.”
Also bombing out early were Keisei Nakano, Rena Furukawa, John Ferrer, and Ryoko Salinas.
The 26-year-old Nakano lost to Asian Games silver medalist Behruzi Khojazoda of Tajikistan via ippon in the Round of 16 of the men’s -73-kg while Furukawa fell prey to Momo Tanaoki of Japan also via ippon in the Round of 16 of the women’s -57-kg event.
Ferrer, for his part, sizzled early as he beat Janga Bahadur Saru of Nepal in the Round of 32 of the men’s 81-kg class before bowing to Bolor-Ochir Gereltuya of Mongolia in the Round of 16.
Salinas also had a good chance when she beat Garima Choundhary of India in the Round of 16 of the women’s 70-kg class.
She, however, surrendered to Shiho Tanaka of Japan, who posted an ippon in the first 45 seconds of their battle to secure a spot in the semifinals, before losing to Liao Wun Jung of Chinese Taipei in the repechage to close his Asiad stint on a sour note.
Still, the national judo squad has a chance to salvage some measure of pride as Carl Dave Aseneta and Dylwynn Gimena compete in the resumption of the tourney on Tuesday, September 26.