The Best of Judo Shone in Santiago 2023

The Best of Judo Shone in Santiago 2023
Fecha de publicación: 
1 November 2023
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Nobody like the bests to face the great challenges and give away the great wins.

Cuban judo team has won five medals so far at the XIX Pan American Games in Santiago 2023, in response to the adversity that arose a few days after the beginning of the games.

There were then fewer “weapons” at their disposal for combat, but the best, the most talented and committed remained.

If on Sunday Maylín del Toro and a brilliant young woman like Idelannis Gómez reigned, this Monday the golden task was assumed by the “main figures”, the experienced ones, those who had to succeed, no matter what.

One after another we celebrate the wins of Idalys Ortiz (+78 kg), her fourth in this competitions, and the second ones for Iván Silva (90 kg) and Andy Granda (+100 kg).

They won easily in a crowded Contact Sports Training Center, where this Tuesday the mixed team was held.

Idalys beat her great rival here, the Brazilian Beatriz Souza, in the quarterfinals, by ippon via three shidos. In the semifinals she defeated the Dominican Moira Morillo, by ippon, and in the grand finale she won over the Colombian Brigitte Carabali for three penalties.

«We all had strategies in mind here because we have met in several scenarios, we know each other very well, although in recent years I have competed little in large international tournaments. "I must emphasize that I am not at 100%, a condition I hope to attained for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games," said the woman from Artemisa with a wide smile on her face.

«This fourth championship is already an accomplished fact. Once again Pan American champion. It’s a great merit, a great pride. I already had all the titles of the international federation, but each competition is another challenge. Every day I go to bed thinking about the next fight," added the Olympic queen in London 2012 and an uninterrupted medalist at that level since Beijing 2008.

Silva defeated the North American Gerónimo Causedo in the quarterfinals, by ippon in 1:29 minutes; in the same way, but in 52 seconds, he defeated the Argentine Mariano Coto in the semifinals; and due to a disqualification he surpassed the Brazilian star Rafael Macedo in the gold medal match.

«This is a high-level tournament, with judokas who perform for a good part of the year in Europe. I came to seek the gold medal, I came out focused on each match to try to give away as little as possible. What’s working good, should not be changed, so I chose the physical approach and good grips. In the finale Macedo made a mistake in an action and we were able to take advantage from it,” Silva declared naturally, as if winning the gold had not kept him awake.

Granda went all in since the beginning, because in the quarterfinals he defeated Brazilian Rafael Silva with ippon in 2:25 minutes. In the semifinals he did the same with the Dominican José Nova, in 3:15; and in the final match he easily won over the Chilean Francisco Solís until defeating him by ippon, despite the huge crowd that supported him in the facility.

«We came prepared for this second gold medal. I knew that we could face the Chilean, who would be local, but I was focused on my strategy and I had the support of the Cubans present in the audience," he initially told the press.

"The Chilean got desperate and I was waiting for the moment, I tried to control his kumis and then the movement just came out," explained last year's world champion.

"It’s true that we had losses in some divisions, but the team prepared itself mentally and we know how to toughen up before difficulties," he concluded.

With this performance, the Cuba has already equaled the five gold medals of Lima 2019, which, according to Rafael Manso, president of the Cuban Judo Federation, shows that with a positive mind, work, and a lot of faith in victory you can achieve the results that people expect.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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