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Silver for judo bet


By Nick Giongco


JAKARTA – Japanese Nami Nabekura ruined Fil-Japanese Kiyomi Watanabe’s gold medal dreams Thursday night in the finals of the -63 kg judo finals in the 2018 Asian Games at the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex.

Nabekura won, 10-0 (Ippon), to take the gold and relegate Watanabe to the silver, the first color for the Philippines in this quadrennial meet that will officially closes shop on Sunday.

Watanabe, 22, started strong by pinning Nabekura, 21, on the mat in the early goings. But Nabekura regained her composure and eventually scored two takedowns en route to the win.

“I was a bit nervous early but I told myself that I have to win,” admitted Nabekura, who is coming off a championship win over Rio Olympic gold medalist Tina Trstenjak of Slovenia in a meet in Croatia last July.

Watanabe, whose mother is from Cebu, had a gameplan she thought would work but she also felt uneasy during the match.

“I was also nervous,” said Watanabe, who has honed her skills by competing mostly in Europe.

Judo chief Dave Carter insists that Watanabe’s silver glitters like gold owing to the magnitude of the event.

“We are happy with the silver,” said Carter, adding that Watanabe’s goal of making it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is right on track.

Meantime, Iran stunned defending champion Korea, 80-68, to advance to the final of basketball competition – thanks to Hamed Hadadi’s 23-point show.

The Iranians will face either China or Taiwan in the final.

The Chinese and Taiwanese were still playing at presstime.

The Philippines is currently at 17th place with a medal tally of 4-1-13 after Watanabe’s contribution.

China leads the cast with 108-70-52, followed by Japan (56-48-64) and Korea (37-43-53).

Host Indonesia is fourth (30-22-37) while Thailand is tenth (9-13-36), Vietnam is 13th (4-15-14) and Malaysia is 15th (4-11-9).

Watanabe powered her way to the gold medal match after overwhelming Orapin Senatham of Thailand, 10-0, in the quarterfinals after drawing a bye.

In the semis, Watanabe, a three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, squeaked past Bold Gnakhaich of Mongolia.

Before campaigning here, Watanabe went to Zagreb in Croatia, where she also dueled with and lost to Nabekura.

In athletics late Wednesday, pole vaulter EJ Obiena landed seventh out of 13 entries after doing 5.30 meters. The top three finishers were Japanese Seito Yamamoto (5.70), Chinese Yao Jie (5.5) and Thai Patsapong Ansamang (5.5).

US-based Kristina Knott also didn’t make the grade after winding up sixth with a clocking of 23.51 seconds. The gold went to Odiong Edidiong of Bahran, who timed in at 22.96.