Cuban Judo: Iván Silva’s 2019

Iván Silva is a very ambitious young man. He is focused, but above all, he is well aware he must continue to improve his performance in the judo’s 90 kg division if he wants to win a medal in Tokyo 2020.

Born in Matanzas on January 8, 1996, and forged after rough combats against Asley González, he is looking now to become an elite judoka after winning the silver medal in the 2018 World Championship.

A propos of his 2019 season, Julio Alderete’s pupil (36 W- 12 L), talked to CubaSí:

“After my gold medal in the Pan American Games Lima 2019, I had just one week to train for the World Championship. My goal was to win a medal, but I could not meet my goal due to some setbacks. Hence, I ended seventh.

Afterwards, I managed to be runner-up in the Grand Slam held in Brazil, my best result in the second stage of my competitive roadmap of the season. The rest of the season, I always lost in the second round.

I personally believe that I was tired, and the training plan was focused on winning that gold medal in Lima. Indeed, there are now strong opponents in my division. For instance, several world champions lost in Qingdao’s (Master) first round,” detailed the already qualified for Tokyo 2020 according to his world ranking (3th- 4.423 points).

Broaden his technical repertoire…

“You must always look for improvements in your combat planning. The workload contributes to personal development. I even train with colleagues of a higher division (100 kg). That is where I am right now. It is not old-fashioned at all, but nonetheless we make the necessary adjustments to broaden my repertoire. This season I have felt more confident as I learned hip, leg, and uchi-mata techniques. Besides, I have learned how to handle my combats better.

In today’s judo, and combat sports in general, you must have an ace up your sleeves. A lot of evaluation of opponents is carried out these days. They watch all my combats on video. Hence, it is paramount to have set some strategies that may help to win a fight in the end.

The 90 kg is a very balanced division. How is Silva dealing with such reality?

“It is something I bear in mind. I can even face a strong opponent in the first round of any tournament who may well be a world medalist. So every international tournament is now a challenge.”

Are you pleased with your 2019 season?

“I am not pleased as I can always perform better. I am actually an ambitious man. A staff of trainers, physicians, colleagues, all of us have worked hard this year. Regarding the emotional aspect, I stay always positive aiming at major goals, but I rather stay focused on winning a medal.”

What are the prospects of judo in general?

“I think the first goal is, for every Cuban judoka, to qualify for the Olympics. Once they are in, the goal is even clearer: to advance in the competition as far as possible to win a medal. The training is being quite hard. In Rio 2016, Cuba’s men judo won no medals and that is the challenge we must target.

The 2020 season should kick off with the traditional European tour as we look to strengthening and rising positions (in the world ranking). Before, I would like to wish all the best to the Cuban people and ask them to trust Cuban judo. We always go out there to do our best,” pointed out the judoka who from 2013 to date, according to, boasts a 68.5% winning percentage in all international competitions.

With a strong mind like an ippon, let’s trust he will accomplish his goal.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff


Cuba have won 38 Grand Slam medals since the foundation of the IJF World Tour in 2009, only four gold medals and those four were captured in the last 365 days. Kaliema Antomarchi became the second ever of her country to win a Grand Slam. Idalys Ortiz had already won three.

At the Grand Slam of Brasilia Kaliema Antomarchi defeated Welsh star Natalie Powell (GBR) after 56 seconds of golden with a ura-nage for ippon. Powell, who has won 19 Grand Prix medals, was countered in added time as Former world bronze medallist Antomarchi topped a Grand Slam medal podium for the first time and added to Cuba’s medal haul on day three. World number five Powell and world number 13 Antomarchi are always there or there abouts on the IJF stage and will no doubt renew acquaintances in the near future.

In the first semi-final four-time Grand Prix winner Chen Fei (CHN) was disqualified against Antomarchi after going out of the area to receive her third and final shido.

In the second semi-final Powell launched world number seven Anna Maria Wagner (GER) with 42 seconds left with a huge ura-nage for ippon and a place in the final.

The first bronze medal contest was won by Wagner who threw world number 11 Luise Malzahn (GER) for ippon with 62 seconds left on the clock. The Tokyo 2020 candidates travelled to the other side of the world together and ended up fighting each other in their last respective contest of the day. Wagner underlined that she has the edge over the more experienced Malzahn in the race for the Olympics with te-waza before the compatriots showed their respect for each other with a handshake and a hug.

The second bronze medal was won by two-time Olympic medallist and former world champion Audrey Tcheumeo (FRA) after an insipid display from Chen. The Chinese judoka disappointed against the out-of-form Frenchwoman who bagged a return to an IJF medal podium for the first time since July 2018 after Chen was disqualified for picking up three penalties.

  • Published in Sports
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