At the second day of the Pan American Championships in Havana Brazil added another two titles, but the home crowd was more happy with the two victories of the Cuban athletes. Cuba won eleven medals in total and Jose Armenteros won the gold U100kg and Idalys Ortiz was the best +78kg.
Canada won a stunning ten medals this event including two gold medals; Arthur Margelidon surprised on Friday, whilst Antoine Valois Fortier took the title in a competitive category U81kg. In the final the Olympic bronze medallist defeated Travis Stevens in a classic match. Victor Penalber, the highest ranked in this category won bronze, Ivan Silva took bronze for the home nation. . “After several medals, he finally took home his first PanAm title, after several medals.” Coach Nicolas Gill said.
Tiago Camilo captured precious gold in Havana for Brazil in the category U90kg. he is preparing his last adventure in Rio and with gold in Havana he loaded more confidence to do it in August. Although this category in Pan American is less competitive compared to U81kg. In the final Camilo defeated Colton Brown (USA). Cuba became the winner U100kg with Armenteros defeating Canadian ace Kyle Reyes who also won silver at the Grand Slam in Paris. He could become a surprise in Rio. Good old Luciano Correa won bronze and Marc Deschenes added another of three bronze medals for Canada.
Rafael Silva secured Brazil’s second gold medal of the day, in the final against David Moura, it made clear who’s the likely nominee for the Olympic Games heavy weight category. Silva won bronze in London and will try to win a second medal in the category with Teddy Riner and Hisayoshi Harasawa.
Another legend, but for Colombia is Yuri Alvear. She won the gold U70kg in the final against former number one Kelita Zupancic. The new comers Maria Perez (not enterily new) and Elvismar Rodriguez of Venezuela remain successful this year with bronze medals for both. Onix Cortes and Maria Portela kept with empty hands, but may have spared their stake in the medals for Rio. Portela is a judoka who can get the vibe at a home championship.
The same counts for Mayra Aguiar. This time it was Kayla Harrison who won this battle in the final U78kg. No one is surprised about this final and both battled again but Harrison struck soon in the match by ippon and she confirmed she came back stronger as ever. The balance between them is 8-8 in international events.
Last Cuban gold medal was reserved for Idalys Ortiz. She overcame Maria Suelen Altheman in the final +78kg. This PanAm Championship was a perfect warmup for the highlight of judo in four years time. In 2012 Pan America won eleven medals, and although the competition is more severe this Olympic cycle, Pan America for sure reserved a few medals. With Asley Gonzalez in the team Cuba will have 2-3 chances for medals. Brazil can win at least two medals in the men’s division and the women should to improve the two medals of 2012, but at least one gold medal is the big challenge. Canada has chances U81kg again with Valois-Fortier but became stronger in all aspects for many top 8 positions, perhaps with a surprise medal. United States with Kayla Harrison and Marti Malloy are still stable on course, but the men stay behind. Less than 100 days to go.