MANILA, Aug 7— In a bid to give the country its first gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the government through the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has committed to give its all-out support to ace judoka Kiyomi Watanabe.
PSC chair William “Butch” Ramirez, in a press conference on Monday, told sports writers that it will sustain its financial backing to Watanabe, who is consistently giving honors in judo. Ramirez led other government sports officials in presenting Watanabe and the sports body’s support.
Ramirez emphasized the sacrifices and honors given by Watanabe, who started playing judo at the age of 11, shall serve as an inspiration to other Olympic hopefuls to dedicate their passion in sports for flag and country.
Born to Filipino mother (Irene) from Mandaue, Cebu, the 21-year old Watanabe’s recent sterling performances include the gold medal last July in the Asian Judo Open in Taipei; bronze in the Paris Grand Slam 2017 and and silver medal in the 2017 European Judo Open Women in Austria.
“I am dedicating these medals to my fellow Filipino youth and to my parents , especially to my mother and to the millions of Filipino mothers, whose sacrifices are worth emulating,” Watanabe said in Japanese dialect as translated by her mother who accompanied her during the presentation. Also present was local judo federation president Dave Carter.
“Discipline and practice,” these are Watanabe’s powerful words, when asked by this writer on her advice to budding talents who want to follow her footsteps or equal her achievements.
“In sports, winning is not all that it takes. Humility and character are very important in human development,” Watanabe emphasized.
Watanabe, a third year college student, taking up Sports Science at the Wasadi University in Tokyo, added that proper nutrition and strength conditioning play a vital role in sports development.
She will be defending her title in the middleweight category match (judo) in the forthcoming 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur this month. She highlighted the 1-0-2 (gold-silver-bronze) output for judo in the 2015 edition of the biennial games held in Singapore.
Aside from Watanabe, the six-man Philippine judokas include Kohei Kohagura, Keisei Nakano and Shugen Nakano in the men’s team, while Sydney Sy and Mariya Takahasi represent the distaff side.