With barely 6 competitive days remaining, Cuba owns the 5th place in the medal table with 23 golds, 18 silver and 28 bronze medals at the 17th Pan-American Games Toronto 2015 based in that Canadian city until next July 26th. The ranks of the great continental lid is commanded by the United States (65-55-49), followed by Canada (55-51-42), Brazil (30-29-43) and Colombia (24-08-24); but let's see part of what happened yesterday:
Just 2 bronze medals was the pale harvest achieved on Monday by the Cuban delegation, though the women's basketball team completed a commendable performance by winning the bronze medal with a 66-62 victory over Brazil, triumph achieved through a tight defensive work and the decisive contribution of Ineidis Casanova and Clenia Noblet's offensive task.
In turn, the Cuban taekwondo athlete Yamicel Núñez anchored in the 3rd spot in 57 kilos with a 10-3 victory over Canadian Evelyn Gonda, while her compatriot Fermín Quesada in 68 kilos was eliminated 10-7 by knockout by Venezuelan Edgar Contreras. Today, the Cuban taekwondo will seek medals in the 67 (f) and 80 (m).
Outside the competition day, the Cuban wrestler Yudaris Sanchez became bronze medalist of the Games following the announcement of doping of Argentina Luz Clara Vázquez, who had defeated her last Friday discussing the 3rd seat in the 59 kilos.
But the fighters of the Island had another lucky and maintained their unbeaten record with the successes of Joahnys Argilagos (49 kilos), Andy Cruz (56) and Arlén López (75), who advanced to the semifinals of their respective divisions.
Thus, the Olympic champion in London-2012, the Cuban Roniel Iglesias, of the 69 kilograms, debuts today in the 4th round of boxing, a very well qualified event also marked by the semifinals in the 3 divisions for females.
Together with fellow champion in Guadalajara-2011, will also debut his teammates Yosbany Veitia (52 kilos), Veracruz-2014 holder and Olympic bronze Yasnier Toledo (64). In short, the Cuban boxers will participate in the 52, 64, 81, 60 and 69 kilogram divisions with Yosbany Veitía, Yasnier Toledo, Julio César La Cruz, Lázaro Alvarez and Roniel Iglesias, respectively.
In other team sports, Cuba will face in the preliminary round to Puerto Rico, in handball (m), baseball (f) and softball (f), as well as Colombia in volleyball (m) and Chile in field hockey (m). In the case of fencing, Cuba will also have chances to get medals in the individual epee modality.
In athletics, Cuba will be present today in 4 of the 9 finals agreed to the debut of the track and field events with renowned figures such as Lazaro Borges in the pole vault, Yulennis Aguilar in javelin, the triple jumpers Dailenys Alcántara and Liadagmis Povea, and Vichy and Aiannis Vichy and Yirisleydi Lisbet in hammer throwing.
Finally, the Cuban staff moved this Monday to the quarterfinals of the women's volleyball tournament, beating 3-1 favorite cast Dominican Republic, 25-22, 25-22 and 25-21, with highlights for the winners to Melissa Vargas, author of 23 points in the match.
Estopiñán set a new continental record for the finals with 450.4 points. He is one of 6 Cuban shooters who have qualified for the Rio de Janiero Olympics in 2016.
He broke the record of 446.6 set by his teammate Alexander Molerio, who took first place at the XI Americas Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2014, qualifying for the Rio Olympics in the process. Molerio came in 12th in the qualifying round in Toronto did not advance to the final; Estopiñán also qualified for Rio in Guadalajara 2014.
With a total of 1,151 points in the qualifying round, Estopiñán reached the medal round in 6th place. He placed higher in subsequent rounds leading up to the direct elimination round.
Through the 5 series of the elimination round Estopiñán kept his aim to win gold. The silver medal went to George Norton (447.9) and the bronze to Ryan Anderson (437.3), both from the States.
Cuban beach volleyball pair Lianma Flores and Leila Martínez, the reigning women’s Central American and Caribbean champions from Veracruz 2014, will be contesting the continental title in Toronto on Wednesday, July 22.
On Sunday Flores and Martínez used their offensive skills to dominate the Canadian team of Melissa Humana-Paredes and Taylor Pischke, beating them in 3 sets, 21-18, 17-21, 15-7. Their higher reach at the net, marked by 36 successful attacks out of 61 attempted (a success rate just above 50 per cent) and their powerful, difficult-to-return serves, was too much for the home team to handle. In the tie-breaking set the Cubans fought formidably and won by comfortable margin.
The Flores-Martínez duo have not cut their opponents any slack since the 1st match, won 2-0 against Mexico. They then trounced Argentina 2-1, and shut out Trinidad and Tobago. The Cubans did the same to the Colombians in the quarter-finals before cutting short the gold medal hopes of the Canadians on Sunday.
This time, Cuba’s rivals for the gold won’t be the Mexican pair of Bibiana Canadelas and Matha Revueltas whom they defeated 2-0 in the final match in Veracruz, as the Mexicans didn’t make it to the semi-finals in these Games.
Instead, the battle for the gold will be with the Argentinian pair of Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug who beat Brazil’s team in Sunday’s other semi-final match.
However, their men compatriots will go for the bronze. In this case, the Pan-Am Games defeat of the Veracruz 2014 men’s champions, Cubans Nivaldo Díaz and Sergio González was a different story. They were beat 21-17, 21-15 by the Brazilians Vitoir Araujo and Alvaro Magliano, who outdid the Cuban duo in all three essential aspects: effective attacks (31 to 23), opponents’ errors (6 to 8) and in defense of the court.
To get to the semi-finals, the Díaz-González pair beat Mexico (2-0), lost to the U.S. (0-2), beat Argentina and shut out teams from Trinidad and Tobago and Colombia.
Brazil’s opponents for the gold medal will be the winners of Sunday’s other semi-final match, the Mexican pair of Rodolfo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen. They are well known for their performance in the NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation) circuits.
The beach volleyball tournament is held at the Chevrolet Beach Volleyball Center, a temporary installation in the heart of Toronto.
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