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Cuba sweep CAC qualifiers


Cuba sweep CAC qualifiers

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CUBA’S JUDOKAS sure are enjoying their time here.
While Barbados found the going tough, it was all too easy for the region’s top judo powers after Cuba swept all seven divisions during the opening day of the inaugural Central American And Caribbean Games (CAC) Qualifier at the Wildey Gym yesterday.
The narrative certainly wasn’t a great one for the hosts, with only Nathan Weithers managing to advance to the semi-final round of his category following early round exits by top judoka Kyle Maxwell and Asa Weithers.
But Weithers fell to eventual Under-60kg champ Roberto Almenares – who defeated Puerto Rican Angel Dones in the final – before also losing the bronze medal match to Melvin Leocadio of the Dominican Republic.
Maxwell, the first Barbadian to win a match at the World Championship level, received an opening round bye in the Under-73kg category only to bow out to Spanish silver medallist Carlos Figeroa.
Costa Rican Osmon Murillo further added to Maxwell’s woes when he defeated the hometown hero in the repechage.
Another Costa Rican, Julian Sancho, accounted for Asa Weithers in the first round of the Under-66kg division, but he didn’t get much further, losing to Colombian Salomon Tello in the very next round.
Gilberto Solar de Armas accounted for that title, holding off a spirited challenge from a hobbled Jeffrey Ruiz from Puerto Rico in the gold medal match.
Ruiz did well just to extend the bout, as Solar de Armas had to wait until two minutes remaining just before he even got on the board.
However, the fight didn’t last much longer, with the Cuban scoring an ippon just 30 seconds later to win outright.
It was just one of seven straight gold medal victories for the Cubans, who got things going when Yandry Torres defeated Guatemalan Jose Ramos for the Under-55kg crown.
Maria Laborde then quickly followed up with a win in the women’s Under-48 kg category, while Almenares followed suit in the men’s Under-60kg division.
Compatriot Yanet Bermoy didn’t even have to contest the gold medal match as Maria Gomez of the Dominican Republic conceded defeat at the start of the Under-52kg bout.
Aliuska Ojeda went on to beat Andrea Menegazzo of Guatemala for the women’s Under-57kg title before Magdiel Estrada wrapped up Cuba’s unbeaten day when he stopped Figueroa in the Under-73kg gold medal contest.
Cuba will be anticipating even more success today when Olympic gold medallist Idalys Ortiz (+78kg), World champ Ashley Gonzalez (90kg) and Olympic bronze medallist Yuri Alvear all take the floor.