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Bariloche, Day 1: USA, Mexico and Venezuela start with gold

USA, Mexico and Venezuela were the first gold medal winners on the initial day of the Pan-American Championships in Bariloche (ARG) on March 27, which saw 26 athletes competing in the two sessions. In the first one, the women’s 45kg and 49kg consecrated respectively Rosielis Quintana Mendoza (VEN), with a total of 160kg, and Jourdan Delacruz (USA), with 198kg.

In the lighter category, Mendoza lifted 71kg in the snatch and then 89kg in the clean and jerk, slighter better than the silver medallist, Maria Barco Ramirez (MEX), with 69-88-157.

In the 49kg, Delacruz dominated operations, performing a 86kg snatch and then a 112kg effort in the clean and jerk – three gold medals for the North American. US domination wouldn’t restrict to gold, as teammate Hayley Reichardt got the silver in 86-111-197. The third place on the podium was reserved for Mexico, with Andrea Martinez achieving 85 in the snatch and then Yesica Hernandez lifting 101g in the clean and jerk for the third-best total of 182 kg.

Among men, two categories were on the programme, the 55kg and 61kg. Mexico and the USA shone once again, with Jose Poox Peralta (MEX) winning in the lighter category, and Hampton Morris (USA) controlling the field in the heavier group. Peralta made 103kg in the snatch and 130 in the clean and jerk (for a total of 233kg), and was followed by Jhony Arteaga Castillo (ECU) in the snatch (102Kg) and overall (228kg). The silver in the clean and jerk went to Juan Barco Rangel (MEX), in 127kg. The bronze medals went to Howard Roche Citron (PUR), with 100-126-226.

In the 61kg category, it was Morris all the way through, with 123-158-281. In the snatch, he was followed by Victor Garrido Buenaire (ECU) with 121kg, while the runner-up in the clean and jerk was Arley Calderon Licourt (CUB), with 155kg, who got also the overall silver with 275kg. The bronze linings went to Thiago Felix da Silva (BRA) in snatch (121kg) and overall (271kg), while Victor Guemez Cel (MEX) completed the podium in the clean and jerk (152kg).

Between the two sessions of this inaugural day, the Opening Ceremony of the championships took place with the presence of governmental representatives and naturally the highest officials of the Argentinean Weightlifting Federation, the host of the continental showcase. A parade with the flags of the participating countries was completed with traditional local dances. 

Earlier in the day, a Press Conference was held and the President of the host National Federation Gustavo Malgor had the occasion of showing his appreciation to all the authorities that made the organization of the event (160 athletes, from 20 nations) possible.