From Lima to Havana: Exhaustive Analysis and Encouraging Future

The 18th Pan American Games Lima 2019 are all in the past. They were a resounding success, full of extreme competitiveness, deeds, tears, and glory; a marvelous host city in every single sense.

Le crème de la crème of sports in America competed in Lima. More than one hundred Olympic champions attended the sports event. Hundreds of world championship medalists…new talents, etc…Nobody wanted to miss Lima 2019.

Cuba was there amid such brilliance. This time, the delegation ended fifth (33-27-38). The total of gold medals was not so low since the Pan American Games held in Cali in 1971 —where we ended in second place.

The truth is the sports arena in now quite different to that of the last years of the 20th century when Cuba, after reigning the Pan American Games held in Havana in 1991, experienced its glory days behind the United States.

From Santo Domingo 2003 (72-41-39) to date, the tendency in performance and results —not only in gold medals— has dropped: Rio de Janeiro 2007 (59-35-41), Guadalajara 2011 (58-35-43), and Toronto 2015 (36-27-34).

Many variables have influenced this performance and we are going to mention some. But before, let’s see what occurred in Lima 2019.

The goal was to outperform Toronto 2015 and consequently, to improve that fourth place. Now, the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, and Canada ended ahead of us this time. To achieve these goals, we had had to earn 38 titles, five more than the actual result.

At first sight, many will dive into some sports disciplines that underachieved such as taekwondo, weightlifting, artistic gymnastics, cycling, baseball, wrestling, and judo despite its five gold medals.

And that is a reality.

For example, track and field achieved 18 gold medals in Guadalajara 2011. Meanwhile, Toronto 2015 and Lima 2019 just contributed with 5 gold medals.

There is one irrefutable reason. Sports have become a very lucrative activity. And consequently, the amount of money invested in its development by every nation is increasingly higher, especially in infrastructure, state-of-the-art technology, coach hiring, counseling or highly skilled personnel, as well as the talent drain.

Having this picture into account, Cuba has tried hard to maintain its sports power status that once boasted. But it is like going against the tide as we have lost the opportunity to develop quality training camps that we used to carry out especially with the former Soviet Union and other former socialist countries.

Hence, Cuba has challenged the economic shortage to maintain one of the Revolution’s greatest achievement. And such sustainability relies heavily on an evolutionary pyramid that starts on the early stage of sports fundamentals clinging on the ideals of Sports for All, the increasingly vanishing of sports facilities, special areas to practice, meticulous recruitment processes, mountain Olympiads…to name a few.

As a self-preservation method, our nation has turned to a strategy that follows the will of the country, not only to make profits in the exports of goods and services, but also with the goal of cooperating and contributing with the development of third world countries as a strong expression of solidarity of the Cuban people.

That is why it was easy to see some outstanding athletes like Yulimar Rojas, Aline Ferreira, and Albaro Rudesindo being trained by Cuban coaches.

We are referring to sports disciplines such as track and field, judo, wrestling, boxing, taekwondo, weightlifting…

We witnessed a new generation of talented athletes in Lima.

Adriana Rodríguez, Vanessa Godínez, Reinieris Andreu, Luis Enrique Zayas, Yusneylys Guzmán, Luis Manuel Lauret. Eliani Cámara, Gretel Mendoza, Alejandro y Huber, Elisbeth Gámez, Osvel Caballero, Mahyvianet Borges…all of them managed to crown endless days of hard training, sacrifice, to win their medals. Even better, the future looks bright right now.

The Pan American Games Lima 2019 resulted in a disappointed event. It is true all of our athletes did their best. However, some did not perform well in the clutch time.

Let’s avoid at all costs our nation enters into an extended decline. Other events await.

Let’s do everything humanly possible. Tokyo 2020 is right around the corner

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz/CubaSi Translation Staff

Cuban President Celebrates Judokas' Gold Medals in Lima 2019

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Sunday celebrated the excellent performances of Cuban judokas Idalys Ortiz and Andy Granda, who became champions in their respective divisions at the Lima 2019 18th Pan American Games.

The third title in a row at the Pan American Games for Idalys Ortiz, an inspiring Cuban woman, who smiles while winning, and wins while smiling, the president wrote on his Twitter account.

On Sunday, Ortiz won her third consecutive Pan American title in the +78 kg division, ratifying herself as one of the world's best judokas.

For his part, Andy Granda defeated Venezuelan judoka Pedro Pineda by ippon in the +100 kg division.

Cuba finished in fifth place on the overall medal table, a deed highlighted by Diaz-Canel on Twitter.

Cuban judokas won five gold medals that went to Maylin del Toro (63 kg), Magdiel Estrada (73 kg), Ivan Silva (90 kg), Idalys Ortiz and Granda.

The Cuban delegation won a total of 33 gold, 27 silver and 38 bronze medals, totaling 98 medals, at the 18th Pan American Games held in Lima, Peru.

  • Published in Cuba

Idalys Ortiz proclaims three-time Pan American champion

The Cuban Idalys Ortiz met the forecasts and won the Pan American crown for the third consecutive time in the +78 kilograms, now in Lima 2019, to be ratified as one of the best judocas in the entire planet.

The three-time Olympic medalist, including a gold in London 2012, solved his final fight easily by ippon against the Puerto Rican Melissa Mujica.

Ortiz, also a world multi-champion, added title 32 for the Cuban delegation in Lima, which will close its competitive action with the gold lawsuit in the 100 kilograms (m) of its representative Andy Granda against the Venezuelan Pedro Pineda.

The Brazilian Beatriz Souza and the Peruvian Yuliana Bolívar remained with the bronze medals in this division, after defeating the Nicaraguan Izayana Marenco and the American Nina Cutro-Kelly, respectively.

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Yarisley: A Giant Woman in Love with the Sky

Villa Videna embraced Cuba, sports dignity, greatness, and glamour. Yarisley Silva (4.75m) and heptathlonist Adriana Rodríguez (6 113 points) exalted the name of Cuba in the stadium as they became the queens of day 3 in Pan American athletics.

Their performances were different. But the truth is both made fans jump for joy by taking us to our limits Thursday afternoon.

We shall always trust Yarisley in major events. No matter if her season performance had been poor all year long. She had not jumped higher than 4.70m this season. Besides, the scheduled training had been shortened…and was seemingly not enough.

But naming Yarisley Silva —at least to those who love track and field— is synonym of emotional abundance. Such deed in Lima had all of these ingredients.

Her body was not quite ready. She could not warm up well. All these, paired with the cool weather in Lima, somehow affected her readiness. Hence, she started off her competition with 4.25m.

Such decision evolved into fatigue and a higher number of attempts. If that were not enough, we almost suffer a heart attack when she jumped 4.35m in her third attempt.

From then on, she was almost perfect. She bet on the great skill she had in 2015. She easily jumped 4.45-4.55-4.65m. Some of her most important rivals in the area —Canada’s Alysha Newman (4.55m) and Venezuelan Robelys Peinado (4.55m)— found trouble in this height.

There were only two left. She and the American Kathryn Nageotte (4.70m, sixth in 2019 world ranking this season). Nageotte jumped 4.70m while Yarisley failed to jump in her first two attempts. Therefore, she risked everything and decided to take on the 4.75m in her last attempt. And she did it!

Her sports career has been now crowned with a winning jump, another caress to the sky; with her open arms to heaven.

The flag, the lap of honor, and the eternal gratitude to those who trusted her all the time.

Thanks Yarisley for some many years of sacrifice. Thanks for all those glorious moments you have given us.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz/CubaSi Translation Staff

Imboden and Berry stage podium protests at Lima 2019 to call for change in United States

Olympic bronze medallist fencer Race Imboden knelt during the American national anthem after winning gold in the men’s team foil, with a second protest then staged by hammer thrower Gwen Berry here at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.

Imboden had already claimed a bronze medal in the individual men’s foil event, before topping the podium in the team competition alongside Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin.

The 26-year-old, the world number two, then knelt as the American national anthem was played during the medal ceremony.

The act is seen as a civil rights protest, started by American football player Colin Kaepernick in 2016.

Kaepernick had knelt to highlight police brutality and racism.

The stance has become more commonly referred to as "taking a knee".

Imboden, a men’s foil team bronze medal from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and world champion, posted on Twitter to explain his decision to take the knee after the event. 

"We must call for change," he said.

"This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home gold and bronze.

"My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart.

"Racism, gun control, mistreatment of immigrants, and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list.

"I chose to sacrifice my moment today at the top of the podium to call attention to issues that I believe need to be addressed.

"I encourage others to please use your platforms for empowerment and change."

The US has suffered from three mass shootings in the past two weeks, with American President Donald Trump receiving criticism for his response to the tragedies.  

Less than 24 hours after Imoden's protest, a second was then staged by Berry, following her victory in the women's hammer throw competition.

Berry was seen raising her right fist at the conclusion of her medal ceremony.

It mirrored the act of Olympic sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the Mexico 1968 Olympic Games, where the duo won gold and bronze medals in the 200 metre race.

The act was a civil rights protest against racial discrimination.

The Australian Olympic Committee last year awarded a posthumous Order of Merit to Peter Norman, who stood in solidarity with the black American athletes on the podium.

After Carlos had left his gloves at the Olympic Village, it was Norman, who came from a Salvation Army background, who suggested that the pair share Smith's to carry out a salute that Smith later clarified had been for human rights and not black power.

Both Imdoen and Berry are in breach of Panam Sports rules under a section on "advertisements and publicity during the development of the Pan American Games.

Hammer thrower Gwendolyn Berry staged a separate protest after receiving her gold medal ©Getty Images
Hammer thrower Gwendolyn Berry staged a separate protest after receiving her gold medal ©Getty Images

The rules state "No kind of demonstration or propaganda of any kind is allowed at the venues of the Games or at other sites or areas considered part of the Games."

The consequences of breaches in the relevant section state: "Any violation of the provisions of the present Section shall result in disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person or delegation concerned. 

"The Panam Sports Executive Board may take further measures and/or impose further sanctions against the NOC or Pan American Sport Confederation and/or International Federation that are responsible of such 29 violation. 

"The decisions taken by the Panam Sports Executive Board regarding this matter shall be final."

Panam Sports declined to comment when contacted by insidethegames.

United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) have said their leadership are reviewing the consequences that may result from the political protests.

“Every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature," USOPC spokesman Mark Jones told insidethegames in a statement.

“In this case, Race didn’t adhere to the commitment he made to the organising committee and the USOPC.

“We respect his rights to express his viewpoints, but we are disappointed that he chose not to honour his commitment.

 “Our leadership are reviewing what consequences may result.”

Imboden and Berry are not the first to express anti-Trump sentiment during the Games here.

American nine-times Olympic medallist and former men’s 100 metre world record holder Carl Lewis criticised the President during a press conference.

"We have a president who is racist and a misogynist, who doesn’t value anybody but himself," he said. 

The issue has not been exclusive to Lima 2019, however, with women's football player Megan Rapinoe confirming that she would not visit the White House if the US were triumphant at the FIFA Women's World Cup, which they went on to win last month. 

During the tournament, she refused to sing the national anthem in protest at a decision by US Soccer to ban players from kneeling during the anthem.

Her actions drew a response from Trump, who accused Rapinoe of "disrespect" in a series of tweets.

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Pan American Athletics Summary Day 4

Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas produced one of the most impressive performances of the 18th edition of the Pan-American Games, winning the triple jump with a 15.11m leap, a world leader, Games’ and national record on Friday (9) to highlight day four action at Lima’s Estadio de la Videna.

The 23-year-old from Caracas, world ranked No.2 and the 2017 world champion, was totally dominant over a quality field that didn’t include the 2016 Olympic champion and 2011 and 2015 Pan-Am Games winner, Catherine Ibargüen. The 35-year-old Colombian, world ranked No.1, decided not to compete in this event in Lima, where she only contested the long jump (and finished fifth with 6.54m on 6 August).

Rojas, who was fourth four years ago in Toronto, delivered an impressive series, in spite of the evening’s cold conditions. She produced three measured jumps, reaching 14.90m (0.7 m/s) on her first, 14.67m (-0.1) with her third and her 15.11m winner with her fourth. Her final effort, a foul by about seven centimetres, was a very long one, in the 15.50m area, which indicates that the tall Venezuelan could jeopardize the 24-year-old world record of 15.50 set by Ukraine’s Inessa Kravets on 10 August 1995 in Gothenburg. The leap also added five centimetres to her previous career best set in Huelva, Spain, on 20 June.

Rojas’ medal is only the second athletics gold by a Venezuelan woman in Pan-American Games history. Jamaica’s Shanieka Rickets, world ranked No.3, was second with a personal best of 14.77m (0.7 m/s), also after a solid series: foul, 14.76m (0.7), 14.76m (1.2), 14.43m (1.0) and 14.77m. Cuba’s Liadagmis Povea, world ranked No.4, was third with 14.60m (-0.6).

More honours for Fraser-Pryce

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, one of the most successful athletes of this time, added the Pan-American Games 200m title to her illustrious collection with a 22.43 (-0.1 m/s) performance to break the previous games record of 22.45 set by USA’s Evelyn Ashford in 1979.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce en route to the Pan-American Games 200m title (Getty Images)Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce en route to the Pan-American Games 200m title (Getty Images) © Copyright

The 32-year-old from Kingston, world ranked No.2 at 100m, and multiple Olympic and world champion, dominated the race entirely, running a smooth curve and finishing off with her traditional and powerful stride, even relaxing a bit over the last 10 metres.

“I want to think that I’m much better at 100m, but the 200m represent a bigger challenge for me”, said Fraser-Pryce, whose hair coloured green for the occasion. “I’m working on getting better at 200m and I’m also very happy to win this title for my country. I knew it was cold, but it was cold for everyone, not just for me, so I just wanted to execute the first 100m like my coach told me to do. Now, I thank god that I finished healthy and I can go back home and put on some more training.” Fraser-Pryce dedicated the victory to her son Zyon, who celebrated his second birthday a couple of days before the final.

Fraser-Pryce’s victory was, curiously enough, the first for Jamaica at the Pan-American Games. Brazil’s Vitória Rosa, world ranked No.16, was second with a personal best of 22.62, while Bahamas’ Tynia Gaither was third with 22.76.

Thomas-Dodd improves to 19.55m

Danniel Thomas-Dodd at the Pan-American Games in Lima (Getty Images)Danniel Thomas-Dodd at the Pan-American Games in Lima (Getty Images) © Copyright

Jamaica tops the medal table entering the final day of track and field. Danniel Thomas-Dodd provided the sixth gold for the Caribbean nation by winning the shot put with 19.55m, setting a new games and national record. Thomas-Dodd, world ranked No.4, achieved the winning mark in her final throw of the day with the victory already assured. Her gold was also the first for her nation at this event. Canada’s Brittany Crew was second with a personal best and national record of 19.07m, while USA’s Jessica Ramsey was third with a season’s best of 19.01m.

Three more gold medals for Brazil..

Brazil also had a good day, producing three victories and reaching five gold medals in all, second in the table. The South American nation won both 4x100m relays and the men’s 10,000m through Éderson Pereira.

The women’s team of Andressa Fidelis, Vitória Rosa, Lorraine Martins and Rosângela Santos was the most consistent at each exchange and clocked 43.04, a season’s best, to win the Games’ title for second time. Canada was second with 43.37, also a season’s best, ahead of the US who clocked 43.39.

In the men’s 4x100m, Brazil won for the fifth time in the last six games. Rodrigo do Nascimento, Jorge Henrique Vides, Derick de Souza and Paulo André de Oliveira clocked 38.27, beating Trinidad and Tobago (season’s best of 38.46) and the US (38.79).

In the 10,000m, Pereira delivered a strong kick over the last 1000m (2:37) to win with a personal best of 28:27.47. The field covered the first half in 14:12.33, pushed by USA’s Lawi Lalang, who took control of the pace for the greater part of the race to eventually finish third with 28:31.75, just behind compatriot Reid Buchanan (28:28.41). Pereira’s title is the third by a Brazilian at the distance.

..and two more for USA

The US team added two gold medals on Friday. Kara Winger triumphed in the women’s javelin with a season’s best of 64.92m, her best performance since 2015. Winger, the US record holder and world ranked No.8, threw beyond 60 metres with each of her efforts: 63.31m, 64.92m, 62.78m, 63.23m, 61.15m and 62.50m. The 33-year-old reversed the finish from Toronto 2015, where she was second behind Canada’s Liz Gleadle. This time Gleadle threw 63.30m, while Ariana Ince, the 2019 US champion, was third with 62.32m.

The second US gold for the day (and third of the athletics competition) came through Nikki Hiltz, who won the women’s 1500m in 4:07.14. Hiltz, world ranked No.30 and third at the recent US national championships, covered the last 300m in 47 seconds to outkick Jamaica’s Aisha Praught (4:08.26) and Alexa Efraimson, also from the US (4:08.63). The last US athlete to win this event was Marla Runyan in 1999.

Mexico’s Laura Galván, who finished fourth at 1500m with a personal best of 4:10.53, returned to the track 40 minutes later, to win the 5000m in 15:35.47, providing the third gold for Mexico. Profiting from her speed, the 27-year-old Galván ran the last kilometre in 2:54 to beat Canada’s Jessica O’Connell (15:36.08) and USA’s Kimberley Conley (15:36.95).

Pan-American Games 200m champion Alex Quinonez (r) leads Yancarlos Martinez (l) and Alonso Edward (c) (Getty Images)Pan-American Games 200m champion Alex Quinonez (r) leads Yancarlos Martinez (l) and Alonso Edward (c) (Getty Images) © Copyright

After a slow first part of his race, Alex Quinonez ran a formidable straight to take the men’s 200m title in 20.27 (-1.0). The 29-year-old Ecuadorian, world ranked No.4, obtained the first gold for his country in a track event, the eight overall and second of these Games. Panama’s Alonso Edward lead up to 120 metres, but faded to fourth in 20.55. Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards was second with 20.38, with Dominican Republic’s Yancarlos Martínez third in 20.44.

Cuba added its fifth medal of these Games through Luis Zayas. The 22-year-old won the hen’s high jump with a personal best of 2.30m. Zayas, the 2016 world U20 champion, came to the contest with a personal best of 2.27m and a season’s best of 2.25m.

Canada’s Michael Mason, who has topped 2.31m this season and is world ranked No.4, was second with 2.28m. Mexico’s Roberto Vilches was third with 2.26m.

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SILVA WINS THIRD STRAIGHT PAN-AMERICAN GAMES POLE VAULT TITLE

Cuban Yarisley Silva produced the best performance of the third day of track and field at the Pan-American Games on Thursday (8), topping 4.75m to win the pole vault on another cold night at the “Estadio de la Videna” in Lima.

The 32-year-old from Pinar del Río secured her third successive Pan-Am Games after an intense journey. Silva, the 2015 world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist who is currently world ranked No.7, opened her day at 4.25m but needed all three tries before topping 4.35m. She later settled in and cleared 4.45m, 4.55m and 4.65m with her first jumps. By then Silva’s only remaining competition was USA’s Katie Nageotte, world ranked No.4, who topped 4.65m on her second attempt. Nageotte, who has a 4.82m season’s best, took the lead after topping 4.70m on her second try. Silva missed twice then decided to attack 4.75m, which proved to be the winning height and a season’s best.

Canada’s Alysha Newman, world ranked No.4 and a 4.77m performer this season, was third with 4.55m, while Venezuela’s Robeilys Peinado, the South American champion and 2017 world bronze medallist was only fourth along with USA’s Olivia Gruver with 4.55m.

Silva became the ninth women to win three titles at this quadrennial competition, joining Mexico’s Ana Guevara (at 400m), Adriana Fernández (5000m), Brazil’s Maurren Maggi (long jump) Cuba’s Aliuska López (100m hurdles), María Elena Sarría (shot put), discus throwers Carmen Romero and Maritza Martén and Yipsi Moreno (hammer).

More history unfolded in the 100m hurdles where Costa Rica’s Andrea Vargas won in 12.86 (0.1 m/s) delivering her country’s second-ever gold medal, and first medal by a woman. Vargas upset USA’s Chanel Brissett, who was second with 12.99 and Jamaica’s Megan Simmonds, third with 13.01. Vargas improved her own national record to 12.75 in the semi-finals.

DOS SANTOS CONTINUES TO IMPRESS

Brazilian Alison Alves dos Santos extended his outstanding season to the Pan-Am Games and grabbed the 400m hurdles title with a South American U20 record of 48.45.

Javier dos Santos en route to the Pan-American Games 400m hurdles crown (Getty Images)Javier dos Santos en route to the Pan-American Games 400m hurdles crown (Getty Images) © Copyright

Dos Santos, bronze medallist at the 2018 World U20 Championships and world ranked No.9, entered the final 100m of the race behind Dominican Republic’s Juander Santos. Both were level at the final hurdle, but Santos clipped it and fell. Dos Santos won comfortably over USA’s Amere Lattin (48.98), while Jamaica’s Kemar Mowatt was third (49.09).

This is the fifth time that dos Santos improves his own South American U20 record in 2019. This season he also won the South American title, the Pan American U20 Championships and the World University Games. His 48.45 clocking places him third at the all-time U20 lists, while his victory in Lima makes him the second Brazilian to win the 400m hurdles after the three titles by Eronilde de Araújo (1991, 1995, 1999).

“The weather conditions weren’t ideal, but I am extremely pleased,” dos Santos said. “Before the beginning of the season I didn’t think it would be possible to run 48 seconds, but now I see it’s possible.”

Canada’s Sage Watson took the women’s title in 55.16. The 25 year-old, world ranked No.14, had been initially disqualified, but later was reinstated upon appeal. Watson ran a controlled race and delivered a strong kick to become the first Canadian to win this event. USA’s Anna Cockrell was second with 55.50 and Jamaica’s Rushell Clayton was third with 55.53.

ZAMBRANO AND JACKSON TAKE 400M CROWNS

Anthony Zambrano became the first Colombian to win the 400m with his triumph in 44.83. The 21-year-old, world ranked No.12, beat Jamaica’s Demish Gaye (44.94) in the closing stages. American Justin Robinson was third in 45.07.

In the women’s race, Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson, world ranked No.4, had to dig deep to beat Mexico’s Paola Morán. Jackson, 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, clocked 50.73, while Morán, the 2019 World University Games champion, ran a personal best of 51.02. USA’s Courtney Okolo was third with 51.22.

José Carlos Villarreal gave Mexico its first-ever gold medal at 1500m in 3:39.93. The 22-year-old was the strongest in the final 100m, beating USA’s John Gregorek (3:40.42) and Canada’s William Paulson (3:40.42).

Carlos Villareal of Mexico takes the Pan-American 1500m title in Lima (Getty Images)Carlos Villareal of Mexico takes the Pan-American 1500m title in Lima (Getty Images) © Copyright

The women’s high jump was an all-Caribbean affair. Led by Saint Lucia’s Levern Spencer. The 35-year-old retained the title she won four years ago in Toronto on countback at 1.87m. Antigua and Barbuda’s Priscilla Frederick also repeated her second place from Toronto topping 1.87m with Jamaican Kimberly Willamson third with 1.84m.

On a memorable day for Chilean athletics, Gabriel Kehr and Humberto Mansilla dominated the men’s hammer throw. Kehr, 22, threw 74.98m in the second round to secure the title. Mansilla was second with 74.38m from round five, while USA’s Sean Donnelly was third with 74.23m. The last Chilean to take a medal in this event was Arturo Melcher, who took bronze in 1951.

Cuba’s Adriana Rodríguez won the heptathlon with 6113 points, a personal best for the 20-year-old. Rodríguez, who was second after the first day 36 points behind Trinidad and Tobago’s Tyra Gittens, reached 6.46m (-0.3 m/s) in the long jump, threw a modest 33.59m in the javelin and produced a 2:18.49 personal best at 800m. Gittens didn’t start the final event after disappointing results at long jump (5.44m) and javelin (32.41m). USA’s Annie Kunz was second with 5990, while Colombia’s Martha Araujo was third with a personal best of 5925. Cuban Yorgelis Rodríguez, world ranked No.5 and defending champion, dropped out after a no-height in the high jump. 

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Lopez Returns to Competition, Wins Fifth Pan Am Games Gold

Three-time Olympic champion and four-time World champion Mijain LOPEZ (CUB) made his return after taking more than a year off from competing. In his first tournament back, Lopez claimed his fifth Pan American Games gold medal, winning the 130 kg weight class in Greco-Roman on Thursday in Lima, Peru.  

To start his day, Lopez rattled off a quick 8-0 tech fall over Luciano DEL RIO (ARG). In the semifinals, he bested 2017 World bronze medalist and former teammate Yasmani ACOSTA FERNANDEZ (CHI), 4-0.

For gold, Lopez dominated Moises PEREZ HELLBURG (VEN) in 2:02 with an 11-0 victory, highlighted by an impressive four-point throw.

Two other Cubans earned the top spot on the podium in Greco-Roman, including 2016 Olympic champion Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) and Gabriel ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB).

Wrestling at 67 kg, Borrero recorded three technical falls on the way to his first Pan Am Games title and did not give up a single point.

In the final, Borrero cruised past 2019 Pan American Championships bronze medalist Shalom VILLEGAS REQUENA (VEN) with a 12-0 technical fall.

At 97 kg, Rosillo won his third Pan American event of the year, adding to his 2019 Senior and Junior Pan Am Championship golds.

In a rematch of the Senior Pan Am finals from April, Rosillo downed 2016 Junior World bronze medalist G’Angelo HANCOCK (USA) in Wednesday’s gold-medal match.

A second-period four-point throw helped Rosillo separate himself from the American and eventually win the bout, 7-2.

Three other countries picked up gold medals in Greco this week, including Ecuador, United States and Venezuela.

Andres MONTAÑO ARROYO (ECU) earned his second-straight Pan Am Games championship, winning the 60 kg bracket.

After a 6-6 show-stopping win over two-time Pan Am champion Luis ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB) in the first round, Montano dominated the competition, securing two technical falls to propel him to gold, including an 8-0 victory in the finals over two-time Pan Am bronze winner Dicther TORO CASTAÑEDA (COL).

Winning the title at 77 kg was three-time Pan Am Championships gold medalist Pat SMITH (USA), who grinded out some solid wins en route to his first Pan Am Games gold.

In the championship match, Smith outlasted 2015 Pan Am Games champion Wuilexis RIVAS ESPINOZA (VEN) with a 3-2 decision.

Venezuela did, however, win a gold on Wednesday night as two-time Pan Am Championships gold winner Luis AVENDAÑO ROJAS (VEN) picked up the win at 87 kg.

Avendano put together an impressive day, defeating 2018 U23 World silver medalist Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) in the semifinals before surpassing four-time Pan Am medalist Alfonso LEYVA YEPEZ (MEX) in the finals, 5-3.

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In the team race, Cuba was first with 120 points, followed by Venezuela with 110 and USA with 91.

2019 PAN AMERICAN GAMES
at Lima, Peru

Greco-Roman results

60 kg
GOLD - Andres MONTAÑO ARROYO (ECU) df. Dicther TORO CASTAÑEDA (COL), 10-1
BRONZE - Luis ORTA SÁNCHEZ (CUB) df. Anthony PALENCIA PUENTES (VEN), 8-0
BRONZE - Ildar HAFIZOV (USA) df. Emilio PEREZ ALONZO (MEX), 7-2

67 kg
GOLD - Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) df. Shalom VILLEGAS REQUENA (VEN), 12-0
BRONZE - Manuel LÓPEZ SALCEDO (MEX) df. Nilton SOTO GARCIA (PER), 3-1
BRONZE - Ellis COLEMAN (USA) df. Luis DE LEÓN (DOM), fall

77 kg
GOLD - Patrick SMITH (USA) df. Wuilexis RIVAS ESPINOZA (VEN), 3-2
BRONZE - Jair CUERO MUÑOZ (COL) dec. Emmanuel BENITEZ CASTRO (MEX), 5-1
BRONZE - Yosvanys PEÑA FLORES (CUB) df. Angelo MARQUES MOREIRA (BRA), 8-0

87 kg
GOLD - Luis AVENDAÑO ROJAS (VEN) df. Alfonso LEYVA YEPEZ (MEX), 5-3
BRONZE - Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRÍA (CUB) df. Josef RAU (USA), 8-2
BRONZE - Alvis ALMENDRA (PAN) df. Carlos MUÑOZ JARAMILLO (COL), 2-1

97 kg
GOLD - Gabriel ROSILLO KINDELÁN (CUB) df. G’Angelo HANCOCK (USA), 7-2
BRONZE - Kevin MEJIA CASTILLO (HON) df. Thomas BARREIRO (CAN), 8-0
BRONZE - Luillys PEREZ MORA (VEN) df. José ARIAS PAREDES (DOM), 9-0

130 kg
GOLD - Mijaín LÓPEZ NÚÑEZ (CUB) df. Moises PEREZ HELLBURG (VEN), 11-0     
BRONZE - Yasmani ACOSTA FERNÁNDEZ (CHI) df. Luciano DEL RIO (ARG), 8-0
BRONZE - Leo SANTANA HEREDIA (DOM) df. Edgardo LOPEZ MORELL (PUR), 2-0

  • Published in Sports
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