Fil-Japanese Furukawa keeps judo crown


PHNOM PENH–Fil-Japanese Rena Furukawa retained her women’s under 57kg tiara to lead a one-gold, one-silver, one-bronze opening harvest for the Philippine judo team in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games Sunday.

Furukawa executed a crafty osoto-gari throw against Chu Myat Noe Wai of Myanmar in a thrilling finale decided in sudden death to repeat as champ to the delight of the Filipino crowd in Hall C of the Chroy Changvar Convention Center.

Furukuwa, 25, had a bye in the Round of 8 then defeated Vietnamese Nguyen Ngoc Dien Phuong in the semifinals to get in play for the gold against Wai, the same Burmese opponent she beat in the last SEA Games in Vietnam.

Wai positioned herself for a grudge rematch by beating Malaysia’s Kamini Segaran in the Last-8 and Singapore’s Tang Jingfang in the Last-4.

“Very happy to win a second gold. I trained hard and expected it,” said the two-time SEA Games champ.

Furukawa’s fellow 2021 winner Shugen Nakano, however, settled for second place in the men’s under 66kg class this time.

Nakano posted three wins and one loss in his side of the competition, which featured a round-robin format. Indonesia’s Dewa Kadek Putra succeeded the Fil-Japanese as champ after going unbeaten in four matches.

Nakano’s loss to Putra sandwiched victories over Cambodia’s Ukrainian-born naturalized player Volodymyr Guchov, Singapore’s Yujie Zhou and Laos’ Khamsy Khounnivath eventually doomed his title-retention quest.

Men’s under 55kg division bet Daryl Mercado made it 3-of-3 for the judokas in the first day of combat play with his third-place finish.

Mercado defeated Myanmar’s Kyaw Htike in the Round of 8 but lost to Thailand’s Jetsadakorn Suksai in the semis. He then outclassed home bet Phallay Phin in the repechage to secure his bronze.

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