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Judokas await world body advise on Tokyo slots

Filipino judo star Kiyomi Watanabe, ranked in the top 18 in the world in the 63-kilogram class, and her camp are now in an agonizing wait to know whether she has done enough to make it to the Tokyo Olympics in July.

“The IJF will announce it sometime in the third or fourth week of June,” said Philippine Judo Federation president Dave Carter. “For judo, everyone in the world cannot make claims ahead of the IJF official announcement.”

The Philippines is pulling for the Cebu City-born Watanabe to make it to the main draw and win a medal in Tokyo. She and brothers Shugen and Keisei Nakano have been training in Japan where they are based with Carter also hoping for one of the brothers to also make it.

Watanabe is a four-time Southeast Asian Games gold medal winner after finishing off all of her opponents via ippon.

“Hopefully, one of the Nakano brothers will join her. They will compete in the final qualifying event in the World Judo Championships in Budapest on June 6-13,” said Carter.

The country so far has eight athletes assured of spots in the Olympics, which is slated July 23 to Aug. 8. INQ

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