The might of Cuban wrestling at the continental level was demonstrated during the Pan-American Championships held in the Brazilian city of Salvador de Bahía, May 5-7.
All of the island’s gladiators fighting in the men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman divisions secured medals.
In the Greco-Roman category, the five students of Raúl Trujillo saw an almost perfect performance with four gold and one silver medal, whereas Julio Mendieta’s freestyle team finished with three gold, one silver and three bronze medals.
Led by Río 2016 silver medalist Yasmany Lugo (98 kilograms), the Cuban Greco-Roman wrestlers demonstrated their superiority in the Western Hemisphere. Lugo defeated Venezuela’s Luillys Pérez 7-3 in the final, to secure one of the four titles won by the island. Miguel Martínez (66kg) also took the gold, defeating Brazil’s Joilson de Brito Ramos by technical superiority (8-0).
Yurisandy Hernández (75kg) dominated in the final against Mexican Juan Ángel Escobar, with a score of 8-3, while Oscar Pino (130kg) beat Cuban-born Chilean Yasmany Acosta through injury, in the race to the top of the podium. The silver medal went to Daniel Gregorich (85kg) who lost the final by major decision (2-2) to Benjamin Provisor of the United States.
Unfortunately, the world number one in the 59 kilograms, Río 2016 champion Ismael Borrero, was unable to compete after being disqualified at the weigh-in, according to the United World Wrestling (UWW) website.
Cuba’s freestyle wrestlers were led by gold medalists Davian Quintana (61kg), Franklin Marén (65kg) and Yunieski Torreblanca (86kg). Quintana defeated the Brazilian David Washington Dos Santos by technical superiority (10-0) to take the top spot; Marén won the title when his opponent Franklin Gómez from Puerto Rico was injured; and Torreblanca easily defeated the Venezuelan Pedro Ceballos (12-6) in the battle for gold.
Yudenny Alpajón (125kg) took the silver after a close final fight (2-3) against Dominique Bradley of the U.S., while Reineri Andreu (57kg), Luis Esteban Quintana (74kg) and Andrés Ramos (97kg) all finished with bronze.
Cuba’s only female wrestler, Yaquelin Estornell, was eliminated in the semifinals (4-2) by Peru’s Yanet Sovero.