Cuba’s outstanding performances on the world sports scene

Cuban athletes have recently achieved significant results in international sports competitions, winning several gold medals in judo, boxing, canoeing, and athletics, reaffirming prospects for the 19th Pan-American Games Lima of 2019, scheduled in the Peruvian capital this coming July 26 through August 11.

London 2012 Olympic champion, Idalis Ortiz, won the gold medal in the +78kg division of the Judo Grand Prix in Hohhot, China, on May 26, according to the tournament website.

She started strong in the quarterfinals, defeating China's Yafei Zhou by wazari. Then, in the semifinals, she excelled with the same technique to overcome German Jasmin Kuelbs, and in the final, faced Japan's Maya Akiba, who was disqualified after receiving three warnings for failing to engage in combat for 45 seconds.

This victory gave Ortiz some 700 points for the world ranking, which she leads with 7,340, far ahead of her closest rival, Brazilian María Suelen Altheman (5,735).

Two other Cubans won bronze: Kaliema Antomarchi (78 kg) and Iván Silva (90 kg), while Andy Granda (+100) finished seventh.

The Cuban delegation, including six judokas, finished fifth on the medal chart, in a contest led by South Korea, with four titles and two bronzes.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez tweeted his congratulations to Cuban boxers, who won five gold medals in the Grand Prix Usti nad Labem, a tough boxing tournament recently concluded in the Czech Republic.

In the event, gold medals were awarded to four-time world champion Julio César La Cruz (81); world and Olympic champion Arlen López (75); world champions Yosbany Veitía (52); Andy Cruz (63); and Dainier Pero (91). Erislandy Savón (91) came away with a bronze.

Cuban Serguey Torres won the gold medal in the single-seat canoe (C-1) in a 5,000 meter race - a non-Olympic distance - on May 26 at the First Canoeing World Cup in Poznan, Poland, reported ACN.

After the title won the previous day by José Ramón Pelier, in the C-1 at a thousand meters, Torres dominated with a time of 24:24.568 minutes, followed by Poles Viktor Glazu (24:37.400) and Mateusz Kaminski (24:47.920).

Also outstanding was the performance of the young canoeist debuting at this level, Mayvihanet Borges (29:15.858), who in the 5000 meter C-1 placed fourth, behind Canadian Katie Vincet (28:20.418), China's Shixiao Xu (28:22.922), and Chilean Maria Mailliard (28:33.302).

Mayvihanet Borges and Liliana Naranjo (1:57.797) came in fifth in the C-2 500 meters - another significant accomplishment.

For their part, Cubans Denia Caballero and Yaimé Pérez took first and second places, respectively, in the discus throw during the Diamond League's third stop in Stockholm, Sweden.

Long jumper Juan Miguel Echevarría finished second, behind local athlete Tobhias Montler.Caballero, world champion in Beijing 2015, managed a throw of 65.10 meters to overcome Yaimé Pérez, who threw for 65.09 meters. The podium was completed by China's Yang Chen (64.25 meters), while the favorite, Croatian Sandra Perkovic, finished fifth with 63.71 meters.

These results produced eight points for Denia and seven for Perez, who are currently leading the race for the diamond, aspiring to dethrone Perkovic in the World Cup in Doha, Qatar, next September. Caballero reached 68.46 meters on May 18 in Havana, tops for the season.

Juan Miguel Echevarría finished second with a jump of 8.12 meters, surpassed by the Swedish representative, Tobhias Montler (8.22 meters) to repeat his best performance thus far this season. Hours before the competition, organizers extended the long jump box, since Juan Miguel surprised the world sailing for 8.83-meters, in this same venue, on June 10, 2018.

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