BY CLYDE MARIANO
Manila, Philippines – Judo president Dave Carter is optimistic Tomohiko Hoshina has a strong chance of winning a medal in the London Olympics, adding the Tokyo-based Filipino-Japanese judoka has what it takes to make it to the Games podium.
“This guy is no pushover and is capable of turning the table on his opponents,” said Carter during recent talks with Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia. “He reached the semis in the recent World Judo in Paris.”
Hoshina, who competes int eh 100-plus kilos category, ranks 16th among the top 20 in Asia and is automatically qualified to the Olympic Games which London is hosting for the second time since 1948.
Following the failure of Nancy Quillotes to qualify, Hoshina became the country’s lone medal hope.
Hoshina is the 10th Filipino and the second Filipino-Japanese to compete in the Olympics since lightweight Vicente Uematsu competed in 1964, the year judo was first played in the quadrennial meet.
He could have won the gold medal in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games had host Indonesia not scrapped the plus-100 division.
John Baylon and Benjamin McMurray were the last Filipino judokas competed in the quadrennial meet in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea.
Hoshina joins Mark Anthony Barriga, Marestella Torres, Rene Herrera, Bryan Rosario, Jasmine Al-Khalde, Daniel Caluag, Mark Javier and Rachelle Cabral (Clyde Mariano).