Pan Am reports

Taken from

Men's under 81kg

As ever the men's under 81kg was a fiercely contested category but it was the man with the best form this year who eventually triumphed. Brasil's Flavio Canto proved his international credentials by winning a bronze medal in the tough Moscow Super A tournament in January. He also squeezed through a gruelling Olympic selection marathon against his compatriot and 2000 Olympic silver-medallist Tiago Camilo to book his place in Athens. So it was no surprise that Canto was the man to beat in the heat of Margarita.

But no-one could beat Canto as he strode majestically towards a fourth Pan-American title. His semi-final against Uruguay's Alvaro Paseyro caused him the most problems. Paseyro is always dangerous with his lightning left uchi-mata, which accounted for Canada's Kalem Kachur in his opening bout, but Canto was wise to it and nullified the threat. After five minutes the pair were locked in a stale-mate but came out with attacking intentions in the golden score period. The extra time was hectic and exciting with Paseyro making a concerted effort to pull off his uchi-mata. After a couple of failed attacks, though, Canto so his chance and dived under his opponent to score yuko with a stooping kata-guruma.

That put Canto in the final against Cuba's Gabriel Arteaga who scored a stunning ippon to dispose of Argentina's Ariel Scanga in the semi-final. Arteaga had been dangerous with his Koga-style one-handed sode-tsuri-komi-goshi all day but Canto was wise to that too. And it was his low kata-guruma that won the day once again as he bowled the Cuban over his head for ippon. There was joy for the two beaten semi-finalist when both came back to win bronze. Paseyro found Venzuela's Albenis Rosales a stubborn opponent and could not make his uchi-mata count. But as Roslaes struggled to contain the Uruguayan's flailing leg, he was caught for waza-ari with kochiki-taioshi and then pinned for ippon. Scanga was given a tough fight by USA's Rick Hawn. Scanga eventually secured waza-ari and the bronze medal with sumi-gaeshi but Hawn pushed forward right to the end of the five-minute bout.

Men's under 90kg

This category is the most competitive and exhilarating in the Pan-American region, in fact it can legitimately be argued that Pan-America is the strongest region in the world at this weight. Three of its fighters qualified Olympic places at the World Championships in Osaka last year – that was one more than Europe and two more than Asia. But despite all the strength in depth, this day was all about one man – Brazil's Carlos Honorato was in sparkling form. He was without a doubt the fighter of the tournament, maybe of its entire history.

Honorato produced a masterclass display in attacking, ippon judo and simply buried every opponent. First up was Venezuela's Jose Camacho who was whipped over his head with a dropping seoi-nage. Then came an astonishing ippon against Uruguay's Milton Terra with utsuri-goshi. He powered Terra into the air on his right hip and was looking to turn him over and his opponent squirmed desperately to avoid the inevitable crashing finale. At first Honorato could not gain the necessary height to turn him onto his back but if at first you don't succeed...try and try again. AT the third attempt the stocky Brasilian finally managed to get the height and slammed Terra into the mat for a shuddering ippon. In the semi-final he faced the powerful Cuban Yosvane Despaigne but even he could not stop the Brasilian Bull. Inside the last 30 seconds and with the fight evenly poised at a shido apiece, Honorato dropped under Despaigne and whipped him over his head with seoi-nage for a winning waza-ari.

The final always looked likely to be an exciting affair with two distinctly different styles – Honorato's explosiveness against the cool, calculating approach of America's Brian Olsen. It promised much and delivered too. Honorato was first into his stride and scored yuko with a wonderful drop seoinage that would have scored more but for over-rotation. Unfazed and confident in his ability, the Brasilian continued to press forward and eventually got his reward. He dived under the American, hoisted him full height across his shoulders and then smashed him into the mat with kata-guruma for ippon – there was nothing Olsen could do. The American's semi-final opponent was Azrgentina's Eduardo Costa who looked impressive throughout the competition. He produced one of the throws of the day in winning the bronze medal against Camacho with a Khabereli pick-up for ippon. Despaigne made up for the disappointment of losing his semi-final by pinning Mexico's Jose Goldshmeid for ippon after countering him backwards for waza-ari.

Men's under 100kg

Brazil usually dominates men's judo in the Pan-American region and so it was the case on the opening day of competition when all four fighters made the finals. But the team from the land of samba did not have it all their own way. Mario Sabino enjoyed a great 2003 when he became Pan-American champion, added the Pan-American Games title and then won bronze at the World championships. But another year rarely yields the same results. He struggled on the European A circuit earlier in the year and came unstuck at the final hurdle in Margarita.

Sabino produced a beautiful ouchi-gari to level Eugenio Vazquez of Dominican Republic and then threw Venezuela's Juan Diaz for ten as well. But in the final he came up against a determined Cuban in the shape of Oreidis Despaigne. He survived a nail-biting scare in his semi-final against the bullish American Rhadi Ferguson who's gymnastic tomoe-nage into juji-gatame wowed the crowd and almost accounted for Despaigne. Having come through that in golden score time, Despaigne came out all guns blazing against the Brasilian. He was the more positive and was leading by a penalty score when he took Sabino over backwards and flat on his back with tani-otoshi.

Ferguson's raw power proved too much for Vazquez when the two met for bronze. Vazquez was forced on the defensive and fouled out long before time had elapsed. Diaz took on Argentina's Andres Loforte in a barnstorming battle for the other bronze medal. It was too-ing and fro-ing inconclusively as both men attacked with vigour, hoping to score a winning ippon. Diaz managed waza-ari with kochiki-taioshi but Loforte hit back in emphatic fashion, driving his opponent over with sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi for ippon.

Men's over 100kg

This category has been owned by Brasil's Daniel Hernandes for the last few years but sprung the biggest shock of the tournament – maybe one of the biggest shocks ever in Pan-American judo. Hernandes seemed to be cruising to yet another continental title when he was caught in the most incredible fashion. He had already pinned Colombia's Sergio Camacho, thrown Mexico's Ricardo Castaneda for ippon with ashi-guruma and flattened Cuba's Rigoberto Trujillo with osoto-gari when he faced the unlikely final opponent Leonel Ruiz of Venezuela.

Ruiz story began with a laboured victory against Dominican Republic's Felix Lebron. But then he sprung his first surprise in countering Argentina's Orlando Baccino for ippon. Baccino attacked with uchi-mata but Ruiz managed to step over the throwing leg, plant his weight and launch Baccino onto his back with ura-nage. The Argentine was crestfallen and argued his case bitterly, believing he had won with uchi-mata but the referee's decision was spot on and Ruiz moved into the final. He could hardly have expected to repeat his feat against the vastly superior Hernandes, but repeat it he did.

The Brasilian made a confident start and looked set for a quick-fire victory when he foot-swept Ruiuz for koka and moved swiftly into ne-waza. Hernandes' position was too high and the hold tenuous but no-one could have expected what was to follow. Ruiz, a giant of a man, flipped his opponent right over his body and onto his back, straight into a hold. Hernandes' arm was trapped and wriggle that he did, he could not free it. Ruiz hung on grimly and the hosts took the men's heavyweight title. Baccino was so disappointed that he did not appear to face Haiti's Joel Brutus for bronze. The other medal bout lasted only a little longer as Trujillo threw Lebron for ippon with drop seoinage in just 14 seconds.

Sounds like Rhadi put on a good show.

he normally does. congrats rhadi.

Good Job Rhadi......Congrats.

I see Rhonda won. Does anyone have any details on her matches?

Here's Rhondas' info:

Women's under 63kg

This category was thrown wide open by the absence of the two finalists from last year's World championships. In fact, all three Pan-Americans that qualified places for the Olympics by finishing in the top six in Osaka last September were missing, giving others a chance to shine. World champion Daniela Kruckower had opted to fight the British Open instead of this tournament, Cuba's silver medallist Driulis Gonzalez was resting after a tough European A tournament season and Brasil's Vania Ishii, who finished fifth in Osaka, was injured.

Ishii's understudy, Erika Moraes, was in top form and made it to the final. Gonzalez's understudy, Sheila Espinosa, faltered at the first hurdle as she was beaten by Canada's Mari-Helena Chisholm by ippon from kami-shiho-gatame. But she fell to Moraes by waza-ari from tani-otoshi and it was the Brasilian who progressed to the last two. There she met a surprise finalist in Ronda Rousey of USA. She was particularly impressive, winning by juji-gatame against Ecuador's Diana Maza and Isis Barreto of Venezuela. She threw Yahoska Ortiz of Nicaragua with an incredible o-goshi switch from ouchi-gari and cut an impressive figure as she lined up to face Moraes.

Both fighters came out positively as Moraes tried to make the most of a rare chance and Rousey tried to complete the dream debut story. Moraes finished runner-up in 2002 in Dominican Republic and looked determined not to miss out on the gold medal again. But Rousey was consistently first to attack and made the scores that counted. She moved in front with koka from ouchi-gari and then added a second from kouchi-gari. Moraes could find no repost and once again was forced to settle for the bridesmaid's costume. Chisholm, fighting down at under 63kg for the first time after making her name in the under 70kg category, made short work of winning bronze by pinning Maza for ippon with kami-shiho-gatame. Audrey Puello did not have to fight for her bronze as Barreto never returned after the armlock by Rousey.

seems as if you can always expect for rhonda to claim one elbow. she is really on a terror. trials will be interesting.

Does anyone know the resluts fo the second day of competition?

55kg jeremy liggett took 5th...he lost to colombia for third

60kg Taraje lost to Costa rica and then did not get pulled through....the top guys lost letting the bottom guys get the points pushing the US to the #7 slot...then the brazilian receieved a honsoko in the the US the #6 slot IF they dont award the Brazilian the is up in the air.

66kg Justin took bronze. He lost to Melvin Mendez (PUR) in the quarters and then came back to beat equador after being down a wazari and a yuko

73kg Jimmy won

48kg Sayaka lost twice 48's is not qualified.

52kg Charlee took 2nd. She lost to savon in the finals

57kg Ellen took 5th. she lost to the cuban in the semis and the puerto rican in OT for third.

Thanks for the updates!

So in the end, what weights have the US qualified for Athens? Looks like Men's 66, 73, 81, 90, 100, 100+ and women's 52, 63, 70 - which ones am I missing?

men's 60's should qualify if the brazilian got a HSK.. i mean, HSK is an automatic DQ so it is as if the guy never even fought.. he shouldnt get any points at all. that would push the US to the #6 slot.

doesn't it depend on how he got the honsokumake? if it was a direct honsoku then yes, he is DQ'ed. But if it was not direct like on stalling penalties then he just loses the match right? i could be wrong.

yea lee.. it would depend on why he was given the penalty.

It was a direct. He threw the guy for ippon and then got DQ'd. However and whatever anyone thinks...there is still a discrepancy and they are debating weather or not to give the guy the points. Of course we hope they do the right thing and give him no points leaving usa with the #6 slot. Womens 57kg and 78kg are also qualified.

The US does not qualify at 60kg. :(

What did the brazillian do?