The second day of competition at the Pan American Games
Dominican Republic used the right strategy
If a team changes a successful athlete to a different bodyweight category, there must be a very compelling motive to do so. This is the case of Yuderquis Contreras, a well known 58kg competitor, was registered into the 53kg category as a surprise. Joined by her teammate, Yineisy Reyes, they both started to make life difficult for their closest contenders: Inmara Henrriquez (VEN) and Francia Peñuñuri (MEX). Contreras was successful in improving the Pan Am Record in snatch by one kilo (from 95 to 96kg) By the time the snatch ended, the two Dominican girls were one-two in the ranking with VEN and MEX far behind. But the C&J was another story. Henrriquez achieved 109kg as her best, just before Contreras missed with 110kg placing the pressure on. By then, Reyes was out of contention in the total (her C&J is not her specialty), allowing Peñuñuri to pass her by to end with the bronze medal in total with 188kg, while Reyes was left 4th with 188kg. It was a very good move by DOM to place Contreras in this category, because what happened in the 58kg category is another story. She made 206kg total, just one kilo away from the Pan Am record of 207kg.
There is not a better thing than experience
No matter how many young athletes might rise in this category, the experienced Israel Rubio (VEN) always has an ace under his sleeve. He tied with his teammate Junior Sanchez in the snatch with 145kg each, followed by far by Doyler Sanchez from COL. But contrary to what has been the usual performance by Rubio (he has distinguished himself for being a snatch specialist) the tables were turned at the C&J. Rubio had three good lifts up to a best one of 173kg (to complement his three correct snatches) to earn a gold medal with a new Pan Am record in total with 318kg His teammate Sanchez got silver with 310, beating Sanchez (VEN) by bodyweight. Bredni Roque (CUB) was almost a threat, but it seems that the Cuban team is reconstructing towards a new future in this sport.
Even by default ECU stays on top
Colombia has enough athletes in this category to cover all possible alternatives, but there is someone in this field that may displace all competition. Wherever she competes in the Pan American Continent, all contenders have to make space for Alexandra Escobar (ECU). But this time it was a little different: Jackelina Heredia and Lina Rivas came decided to dethrone the queen of the 58kg category by. Rivas established a new Pan Am Record twice with 99kg followed by 100kg. Escobar missed her last snatch with 101kg placing second with 99kg. In the C&J, Lina Rivas entered the battle assuring a bronze medal with 215kg total. But Heredia did all she could to hurt Escobar: she tried 120kg twice, but the referees saw flaws in her technique and had to settle for silver when Escobar struggled successfully with a second attempt at 122kg. A third attempt by Escobar with 126kg to improve her own record of 125kg for a Pan Am record was no good.
By David Arroyo Pan American correspondent