Osniel Solís. Photo:Jit

A gold medal won by Osniel Solís from Havana, in the 66 kilograms division, as well as three bronzes by compatriots Yandi Torres (60), Magdiel Estrada (73) from Matanzas and Aliuska Ojeda (57) from Holguin, was the final result of Cuban judokas competing in the first round of the Pan American Judo Championships held April 28, in Panama City.
Solís was the biggest surprise of the event. The judoka from Havana was ranked 13th at the opening of the competition, while his chances of securing a podium sport seemed unlikely. Cuba’s national champion in the 66 kilogram division defeated favorite and silver medalist in the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games, Antoine Bouchard of Canada by wazari in his first bout. He then applied a similar formula against Gueorgui Poklitar, also from Canada, which saw him advance to the semifinals, where he beat Peru’s Juan Postigos, before defeating Brazilian Daniel Cargnin by wazari in the final.
Meanwhile, the young Yandri Torres (60kg) secured a bronze medal after defeating John Futtinico of Colombia by ippon in the bout for third place.
Torres began his competition winning twice, before losing against Ecuador’s Lenin Preciado, Toronto 2015 champion, in the semifinals.
Magdiel Estrada also took bronze in the men’s competition after defeating Alonso Wong of Peru by ippon. The judoka from Matanzas beat out Abel Philippe Matellus of Haiti, followed by Puerto Rico’s Jeffrey Ruiz in his opening matches, but was unable to defeat Eduardo Barbosa of Brazil, in the semifinals.
Cuba’s Aliuska Ojeda defeated her compatriot Anailys Dorvigny in a decisive bout for third place in the women’s 57 kilograms division. Given the quality of both athletes, the Cuban delegation led by technical coach Félix Portuondo decided to enter two representatives in this category.
Finally, Vanesa Godí­nez (48), Melissa Hurtado (52), Maricet Espinosa (63), all finished in fifth place after losing their bronze medal matches to Katelyn Bouyssou, Angélica Delgado, and Ana Mar­tin of the United States, respectively.