Idalys Ortiz: Tokyo, the eternal embrace of the Olympus

Idalys Ortiz: Tokyo, the eternal embrace of the Olympus
Fecha de publicación: 
30 July 2021
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Some doubted about her performance. Personally, I always believed in Idalys Ortiz. I will say without hesitation that she is Cuba’s greatest women judoka of all times, and one of the best ever worldwide. Few times I had ever seen an athlete with so much rigor and so awesome winning record when things get heated.

Thus, with that calm she owns at every moment no matter how big it may be, she began to compete in Tokyo 2020.

My heart was pumping at full speed before she accomplished that seoi-nague hand technique for a winning wazari against Portuguese Rochele Nunes — 11th in the IJF world ranking — in golden score. And so she achieved her eight win against the European.

Afterwards, she beat Chinese Shiyan Xu in a very tough combat. Seoi-otoshi and Tsuri-goshi were the techniques accomplished this time against the number 13th in the IJF world ranking.

That win opened the doors for her to the semifinals where a huge fight against French Romane Dicko loomed on the horizon. And I say huge not only for the awesome improvement of the French judoka in recent times, but also because both had split victories in two prior combats.

Idalys disregarded everything and her yoko-guruma movement made me jump out of my chair at 4 am.

That ambition to always fight for more made me recall my days of my thesis discussion to become journalist. I said to myself again and again: no matter what, she is already the best Cuban judoka ever. Three consecutive Olympic finals…She won the bronze medal in Beijing 2008 when she was only 17 years old, an impressive list of records at all levels with eight world cup medals…

But ambition was my main ally, and enemy. She was facing 21 years-old Japanese Akira Sone (4th IJF world ranking), an immutable, invulnerable, but explosive and fast giant at the same time who had beaten Idalys in three out of the four prior combats.  

A very tactical fight, dominated by kumis and certain caution as if it were the Battle of Kursk. The regular time was up and shidos came up after five minutes of fight. Both athletes were doing their best. But pulling were not enough…

With the initiative, Sone finally won by hansoku-make after nine eternal minutes. My nerves were on edge, and happiness finally came over me.

I must confess I am happy. Idalys won that silver medal. She had achieved a similar result in Rio 2016, added to the gold medal she won back in London 2012. And these are the rewards to training hard every day.

She owns an impressive 249-80 record since 2006 and she has been in the judo elite for fifteen years in the heavyweight division, which is very competitive.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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