An impressive start by Cuba in the recently concluded World Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas, concluded with many wanting more medals, or at least being awarded their ticket to the Rio de Janeiro-2016 Olympics.
Ismael Borrero’s(59 kg) gold and Mijaín López’ (130kg) controversial silver on the second day, raised expectations for the freestyle bouts to follow, where Cuba seemingly had its strongest contenders.
At the end of what had appeared until then to be a somewhat mediocre year -- during which he was not able to reach gold at the Toronto-2015 Pan-American Games -- Borrero pulled off the best performance of his and became a world champion at just 23 years of age.
Five time world -- and twice Olympic -- champion, López, lost in his final match against Turkey’s Riza Kayaalp, the only wrestler capable of beating him in recent years, although the deciding point of this bout was the result of a warning issued to the Cuban.
In what was to follow, none of the Caribbean nation’s medalists from the previous Tashkent-2014 championships managed to qualify for the last stages, some eliminated by opponents of seemingly lower caliber.
The defeat of double world medalist Reineris Salas (86kg) by the Venezuelan, Pedro Francisco Ceballos, who he had beaten numerous times, stands out.
Of the other considered favorites to reach the podium at the event was Liván López(74kg) who saw the most action, falling in his quarter final bout to Narsingh Pancham Yadav of India, a previously unknown star who shone at this event.
Faced with a difficult prospect of beating Kyrgyz, Magomed Musaev in the 97kg division, Javier Cortina could not repeat, let alone improve on, his Tashkent-2014 bronze.
The well respected Russian double world champion, Victor Lebedev, defeated Yowlys Bonne (57kg) in a closed 2-2 bout; by no means a bad performance by the wrestler from Guantanamo.
Neither do the performances of the women Katherine Videaux (63kg) or Lisset Echevarria (75kg) warrant criticism, because they both fought well and were beaten by equal or better opponents.
Logic dictated that, being a pre-Olympic event, and the first with tickets to the games on offer, the competition at these championships would be stiff, but such a poor start seems beyond reason.
Prior to the event, numerous titles had been anticipated, and only two medals were won. For this very reason the competitors were probably left unsatisfied.Share on FB Share on TT