By winning 7 of a possible 14 gold medals, Brazil took the nations title at the Pan-American Judo Championships, that took place in Havana on April 29 and 30.
The most spectacular of the triumphs was that of the Toronto-2015 Pan- American title holder, Charles Chibana (66kg), who went ahead thanks to a wazari with just one minute left on the clock, and with an extensive display, he disposed of the Mexican, Eduardo Araujo.
The other monarchs of the forthcoming Olympic Games host nation were; Sarah Menezes (48kg), Mariana Silva (63kg), Felipe Kitadai (60kg), Tiago Camilo (90kg), Rafael Silva (more than 100kg) and Erika Miranda (52kg).
The South American giant also featured in three other finals, meaning that the only categories in which Brazil did not claim the throne was in the 81kg and 70kg for men and the women´s 57kg and 70 kg.
Only Cuba, the U.S. and Canada took two scepters, with the other scepter going to the outstanding three times world champion, Colombian Yuri Alvear (70kg).
Because of an injury that ruled out Asley González, Cuba was without their leading male contender, leaving José Armenteros(100kg) to successfully fill the role. The other gold went to the current Olympic and World Champion, Idalys Ortiz (over 78kg).
Ortiz announced that after the Rio- 2016 Olympics she intended to take time out for mothering and that she did not know if she would compete again.
Cuba’s fourth place position -- due to having won less silver medals than the U.S. and Canada -- was its worst in this type of event which it has dominated for the past 30 years having only once come in second during that time.
Nevertheless, the tournament was a success for Cuba from an organizational viewpoint who put experience gained from the Grand Prix 2014 and 2016 to good use.
The battle between the countries ended with Brazil in first place with seven gold, four silver and five bronze, followed by Canada (2-5-3), the U.S. (2-2-1) and Cuba (2-1-8).
203 judokas from 25 nations participated in the event for whom a gold medal represented 400 points, silver 240 and bronze 160 for the world rankings.
These points placed some in a position on the definitive list for the Olympic Games of Rio De Janeiro-2016, which was limited to only 22 men and 14 women.
Others who were already in a qualifying position improved their places in order to gain access to a more favorable draw in the forthcoming Games.
Cuba has 10 athletes (five in each sex) with medal possibilities, of which eight have already assured their tickets to Rio and two are awaiting to have their qualifications officially certified.
For this very purpose, all 10 took off on May 3 to compete in the Baku Grand Prix in Azerbaijan, the last chance to join the most privileged.
After that, their only chance would be at the World Masters in Guadalajara, México, an event in which only the 16 best in the world in their respective divisions can compete.Share on FB Share on TT