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Cuba in the spotlight on the third day of the Pan American Games

77kg Men
Cuba breaks the tendency
Through the first two days of competition and six categories competed, the gold medals were distributed heterogeneously among six different countries. This is: CUB, PUR, COL, DOM, VEN, ECU. But one of these countries broke this tendency by winning another gold medal at the 77kg category for men. Ivan Cambar set the pace right from the start with 150kg in snatch, closely followed by Ricardo Flores (ECU) with 148kg and Wellisson Da Silva (BRA) also with 148, but with higher bodyweight. The battle was practically over in the C&J when Cambar took advantage of the two mistakes by Flores and won the jerk with 188kg. Da Silva lost an opportunity for a medal as Chad Vaughn, USA, did better with 179 to 177kg for the Brazilian. Cambar gave Cuba the second gold medal of these games, while Flores got silver and Vaughn received bronze. Da Silva was left in fourth place by just one kilo.

85kg Men
Like in the old days, Cuba still shows power
For some time past, Cuba used to dominate the Pan America scene by winning most of the men’s categories, leaving very little chance for other countries to step on the highest place over the medal podium. This time the battle was between Kendrick Farris, USA; Carlos Andica, COL; and Yoelmis Hernandez, CUB. Hey all had very good performances in the snatch, being Hernandez the leader in the first part and leaving Julio Idrovo, ECU, behind after missing his second and third attempt. In the second part Kendricks was not himself, missing his second jerk and rushing his third for a miss. Andica did all in his power to displace Hernandez, but the Cuban used his better technique to finish first after six excellent lifts, just equaling the record still owned by Oliver Ruiz (COL) at 206kg. It is important to notice that in this session we saw for the first time in Pan American Games the participation of a lifter from Haiti, Odeus Belicer, who trains in the Dominican Republic.

63kg Women
The battle was too intense; 13 Pan Am records
This title certainly makes no sense. We all know that in modern weightlifting there are only three possibilities to see new competition records: snatch, clean and jerk and total. But what happened in this woman’s category needs to be explained. After the girls from PER, CHI and ECU finished their participation in the snatch, Christine Gerard (CAN), Nisida Palomeque (COL) and local hero Luz Mercedes Acosta (MEX), the Pan Am records fell like leaves from a tree in autumn. Girard started with a new record in snatch of 101kg (the previous record of 100kg by herself), then Acosta with 103kg, then Girard again with 104kg, then Acosta, 105kg and finally Girard ended this madness with 106kg, the record that prevails. He C&J had a similar development, just that in this occasion Palomeque got into the melee ending a four time record breaking streak with 135kg as the final tally. The total was also rewritten by Acosta and Girard, with the Canadian coming up with the final word: a Pan Am record total of 238kg. There were 13 records in this session, the toughest one up to date. Girard kept the gold, Palomeque the silver and Acosta the bronze.

By David Arroyo Pan American correspondent