Only Four Cuban Judocas Will Compete at the Olympic Games in Paris

The Judo Federation, a declining sport on the Island, expected at least seven of its athletes to qualify

Idalys Ortiz has won medals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, Rio 2016, London 2012 and Beijing 2008 / JIT

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 18 June 2024 — Cuban judo is crumbling. Of the seven athletes that the president of the Cuban Federation of this sport, Rafael Manso, intended to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, only Idalys Ortiz, in the 78-kilogram category, Maylín del Toro (63 kg), Andy Granda (100 kg) and Iván Silva (90 kg) got their tickets. The hope of success for the regime is focused on the four-time Olympic medalist Ortiz. The 34-year-old from Pinar del Río was in the nineteenth position of the Paris 2024, qualifying with 2,983 points.

Maylín del Toro will perform in Paris after an outstanding performance at the World Judo Championship, which took place last May in Abu Dhabi. However, her chances of a medal are reduced against competitors such as the French Clarisse Agbegnenou.

Cuban judo “is going through a worrying stage of decline,” said Play-Off Magazine. This discipline, which has awarded 37 Olympic medals to the Island throughout history – 6 gold, 15 silver and 16 bronze – has also been affected by departures.

This discipline has awarded 37 Olympic medals to the Island throughout history: 6 gold, 15 silver and 16 bronze

Pan American and Central American judo champion Magdiel Estrada, 29, fled the Cuban delegation in Brazil last April. With his leave, “judo and the Cuban sports movement lost a prominent figure less than three months away from the great appointment in the French capital. A phenomenon that doesn’t stop,” Play-Off Magazine warned that month.

Between July and September of last year, nine judocas ended their relationship with the Cuban sport.

The bronze medalist at the Budapest Judo World Championship (2017), Kaliema Antomarchi, boarded a flight to Serbia in September, a route followed by many Cubans to access the European Union. This athlete’s departure coincided with the escape in Canada of Samarys Gregorio, Odelin García and Yurisleydis Hernández, after winning second place in the Pan American and Oceania Championship held in Calgary.

Vanesa Godinez, Mellisa Hurtado, Santa Virgen Romero, Blanca Elena Torres and Lutmary García also left the Cuban team in May, during their training in France.

To the escapes is added the “inattention and lack of maintenance” denounced in an interview with Cubanet by the bronze medalist in Central American games and coach of the Judo Academy in Havana, Yosvani Pérez Hernández. “It’s obvious that they are not doing their job. The health of judo is being lost,” he said.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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