One Bajan left to fight
Competitors from Barbados fell down when the Pan American Judo Cup began at the Wildey Gymnasium yesterday, with judokas from 22 nations battling for honours.
Justin Boyce will be the lone Bajan looking to hoist the gold and aquamarine when the action continues today as Olympian Kyle Maxwell, along with Onoh-Obasi Okey and cousins Nathan Weither and Asa Weithers were defeated in their matchups.
With the losses, the Bajan judokas missed out on garnering vital points towards qualifying for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.
After losing earlier by penalties to Alexandro Clara of Argentina, Maxwell returned desperate to advance while facing Osman Murillo of Costa Rica. A toss by Maxwell stunned the spectators when he was only given half of a point and when Murillo responded with a similar move he was given a full point to take the contest.
Coach Ian Weithers philosophically responded by stating that he drilled his competitors to understand that often the breaks would not go in your favour therefore it was important that you toss your opponents flat on their back in the middle of the mat even if you had to do that repeatedly.
Asa Weithers had given Barbados some joy by defeating Kesner Garçon of Haiti in the opening match. But Asa later lost to Jesus Chaparro of Mexico and Hernan Carrion of Uruguay in spite of tossing Carrion and creating a nose bleed for the opponent which held up the contest for six minutes. Nathan Weithers was defeated by Juan Postigos of Peru.
The talented Okey was beaten by Diana Ortiz of Venezuela and then she was eliminated by Diana Cobos of Ecuador.
The competitors at this qualifier are seeking vital points to make the top nine when the cut-offs are made for next year’s Games. Barbados will now have to take the costlier route of attending the final qualifiers in Canada next year to pick up points for any competitors to reach the Pan Am Games in Toronto.
Earlier, in giving the feature address, Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley not only complimented the Barbados Judo Association for staging the prestigious tournament but also commended the body for its initiative to introduce the sport to the primary school system.
The Minister indicated that plans were on stream to refurbish the facilities at the Gymnasium and he added that Government would continue its drive towards providing top class facilities for visiting sports persons.
The minister also made a presentation to president of the Pan American Judo Confederation, Paulo Wanderley.
Wanderley not only asked Barbados to put on a great show in hosting such a tournament and providing the window to excellence for the region, but he also exhorted Barbados’ athletes to emulate Obadele Thompson in achieving Olympic glory for the island.