Filipina judoka Kiyomi Watanabe was eliminated from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after losing in the Round of 32 of the women’s -63 kilogram event to Cristina Cabana Perez of Spain on Tuesday, July 27.
Watanabe, the Philippines’ lone judo representative, had a devastating loss, losing 10-0 through ippon just 38 seconds into her Summer Games debut at the Nippon Budokan.
No. 37 in the world Cabana Perez surprised an aggressive Watanabe, who was rated no. 41, with a sumi-otoshi. The throw was initially ruled a waza-ari, but after additional examination, it was determined to be an ippon.
Watanabe, a 2019 SEA Games gold medallist who also served as one of the country’s flag bearers in the opening ceremonies, saw his medal quest come to an end with the defeat.
Meanwhile, President of the Philippine Judo Federation Dave Carter expressed his disappointment following Watanabe’s “painful” loss in her 2020 Tokyo Olympics bout earlier today.
According to Carter, Perez should not have received a point since Watanabe executed the technique.
The referee’s decision to award the mark to Spain’s bet was described by Carter as a “gravely wrong decision.”
“Yes, it was wrong. I am also an international referee. I understand the rules very well. They made a mistake,” said Carter.
Carter further stated that the setback was difficult for both Watanabe and the federation, but that the disappointment would serve as motivation moving forward.
“This was a very painful loss for Kiyomi and for us. Very painful. We find it hard to explain to the POC and PSC. However, we are very thankful to PSC Chairman Butch (Ramirez) for all PSC’s support and to POC President Cong. Bambol (Tolentino) for the trust that he bestowed Kiyomi,” added Carter.
“We will come back,” he further stressed.
Through continental allocation for Asia, the Filipino-Japanese judoka qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
In preparation for her first Olympic appearance, the 24-year-old Judoka and her entire squad trained at high altitude in Yamanashi, Japan. She also participated in training sessions at Waseda University, where several foreign athletes were preparing for the Olympics.
Watanabe is a household name in Southeast Asia, where she has won four SEA Games gold medals.
The 24-year-old came close to winning another gold medal for the Philippines at the 2018 Asian Games, but had to settle for silver against Nami Nabekura of Japan.