Watanabe zeroes in on Tokyo games stint

    FIL-JAPANESE Kiyomi Watanabe, the country’s top female judoka, is almost assured of qualifying for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

    Philippine Judo Federation president Dave Carter said only the top 26 judokas in the world in each weight class will qualify for the Olympiad.

    Watanabe is currently ranked 23th in the world rankings in the women’s minus 63kgs and all she has to do is to join all the remaining Olympic qualifying tournaments to maintain her ranking.

    Carter said Watanabe’s chance of directly qualifying for Tokyo is highly probable because several countries have more than one judoka in the top 26 of the women’s 63-kilogram division and countries are only allowed to field one entry per weight class.

    Carter said Japan has four judokas in the top 26 while Great Britain has three. Other countries like the Netherlands, Slovenia, China and Brazil have more than one.

    Watanabe is competing in the Osaka World Championships next month, the last Olympic qualifying for the year. She is set to compete in three more qualifying tournaments next year before the cutoff in July.