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3 PH judokas to compete, train in Europe

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Three Filipino-Japanese judokas are heading to Europe to compete, train and prepare for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Philippine Judo Federation president Dave Carter said this is what’s in store for Kiyomi Watanabe and the Nakano brothers Shugen and Keisei.

The three will compete in the Paris Grand Prix, slated from Feb. 8 to 9.

“Our top contenders are currently training in Japan. And they are scheduled to go to the Paris Grand Prix,” said Carter.

During the 2018 Asian Games, Watanabe put up a tough fight against world No. 3 Nami Nabekura before settling for the silver medal in the 63 kg class.

On the other hand, Shugen and Keisei reached the round of 16 of the 66kg and 73kg classes, respectively. 

A training camp in France follows before they join the Dusselorf meet in Feb. 22.

More preparations will be done before they go to the European championships in Belarus this June.

During the Asiad, Watanabe’s performance was a big improvement from her mere ninth-place finish in Incheon in 2014.

She booted out Orapin Sentham of Thailand by ippon in the quarterfinals then eased out Mongolia’s Gankrainch Bold also by ippon in the semifinals to line herself up for a shot at the crown.

Watanabe, the 22-year-old three-time SEA Games gold medal winner, is now training her sights on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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