(ATR) Judo had its debut at the Lima Pan Am Games on Thursday, with three of its 10 events.
Renan Torres celebrates winning gold medal over Lenin Preciado of Ecuador (Getty Images)
The Polideportivo 1, the venue where Argentina and Brazil were crowned handball champions, was revamped to welcome the judo athletes in the -48 and -52kg women’s and the -60kg men’s categories.
The fans went crazy at every battle, and intensified their cheers when a Perú judoka went into the tatami. Music, cheers and lots of flags invaded the place and gave an interesting party atmosphere.
The 2015 -60kg gold medalist Lenin Preciado of Ecuador beat Colombia’s John Futtinico, the bronze medalist in Toronto, in the quarterfinals. But Brazilian Renan Torres defeated Preciado in the intense final. The bronzes for the category went to Adonis Diaz of the USA and Roberto Almenares of Cuba.
“It’s the best day of my life, I’m really happy and surprised with my achievement,” Torres said after the medals ceremony.
“This tournament is the confirmation that we are on the right path. It’s one of my first international tournaments and winning the gold gives me strength to go for everything.”
The -48 kg bronze medalist from Toronto Edna Carrillo of Mexico failed to reach the quarterfinals this time and while Rio 2016 champion Paula Pareto of Argentina lost in the semifinals to Vanesa Godinez of Cuba, suffering a recurrence of a neck injury that forced her to then withdraw from her bronze medal match. The World Championship is just 15 days away, and that’s now first priority.
Godinez fought against Stefania Soriano of the Dominican Republic for the gold.
The 20-year-old Dominican, who won Judo Panamerican last year, was left exposed by her lack of tactics. Soriano, after a waza-ari, earned first place in the competition
Mary Dee Vargas reacts to winning Chile's first judo medal at Pan Ams (Getty Images)
“It’s an honor to give a new medal for my country, we hope that this one is the first one of many. I loved hearing Dominicanas anthem, it was really emotional,” Soriano said.
The bronze medals went to Carrillo and Mary Dee Vargas of Chile, who earned the first judo Pan Am medal for her country after 28 years.
This comes as a result of changes made by the Chilean federation. They decided to modify the staff, including a psychologist, and step by step things started working out. Vargas was the first sign that the plan is working, but Chile expects to continue along this positive road over the next two days of competitions.
For the -52kg category there weren’t any defending medalists but the Cuban Nahomys Acosta, just 18 years old and a bronze medalist at the Youth Olympic Games 2018, took home a bronze medal along with Panama’s Kristine Jimenez.
Larissa Pimenta of Brazil claimed the gold by beating Luz Olvera of Mexico in the final.
Written and reported by Olivia Diaz Ugalde in Lima.
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