Fighters displayed impressive technique and grit to grab 25 qualifying spots for the much-anticipated Santiago 2023 Parapan American Games
Thrilling fights, compelling comebacks, and breakthrough moments were the highpoints of the Qualification event of the Santiago 2023 Parapan American Games as the countdown to the continental championships began in Rio de Jeneiro, Brazil in March.
As many as 25 fighters grabbed spots for their respective National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) in one of the biggest events of the year, winning their qualifying fights in style. All of them joined the already qualified athletes including Paralympic and World champions – who have made the cut for Santiago 2023 owing to their world rankings.
At Santiago 2023, these 25 fighters are expected to join the likes of top ranked fighters that include Brazil's world no. 1 and Paralympic champion Nathan Torquato, Mexico's Paralympic and Parapan Games champion Juan Diego Garcia Lopez (men's -70kg), Brazil's top ranked and Paralympic medallists Silvana Mayara Cardoso Fernandes (women's -57kg) and Debora Menezes (women's +65kg) among others.
High quality performance
The Rio audience was treated to high-quality performances that was highlighted by the impressive comebacks of Venezuela’s Orlando Figueroa (men’s - 63kg) and Mexico’s Francisco Pedroza (men’s + 80kg) besides Cuba’s Lilisbet Rodriguez Rivero’s inspiring technique as she continued to shine in the women’s -47kg K44 event.
Rivero would be ones to watch out for at the Santiago 2023 and World Championships, having shocked Peru’s Paralympic champion Angelica Espinoza in a Parapan Am Series last year. A tussle between the two might be also on the cards in Santiago 2023.
A total of 34 fighters from 12 nations took part in the 10 weight divisions of the qualification event in Rio, which also witnessed around 14 new fighters getting their classification.
With such exciting encounters witnessed during the qualifiers, one could only guess the level of competition and intensity of the fights set to take place at the Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games this November. We are already thrilled and keenly looking forward to the fights.
The medallists who have earned the spots for their respective NPCs are:
Men K44 -58kg: Leandro Agustin Fernandez (ARG), D'andrade Claudio (VEN), Do Naciamento De Oliviera Cicero (BRA)
Men K44 -63kg: Orlando Figueroa (VEN), Marco Antonio Mayor Rodriguez (CUB), Palacios Tadeo Victor Manuel (MEX)
Men K44 -70kg: Suarez Walker Michael Ernesto (CUB), Coelho Alves Junior -Carlos Geraldo (BRA), Cano Arrechavala Ehecatl Zaid (MEX)
Men K44 -80kg: Claro Lopes De Oliviera (BRA), Felix Sabates (USA),
Men K44 +80kg: Francisco Pedroza (MEX), Lucas Moraes Vicente (BRA), Julio Armando Figuereo Asencio (DOM)
Women K44 -47kg: Lilisbet Rodriguez Rivero (CUB), Teresinha De Jesus Correia Dos Santos (BRA), Miriam Aparecida Pio (BRA)
Women K44 -52kg: Maria Eduarda Machado Stumpf (BRA), Elisabeth Geraldo Figuereo (DOM)
Women K44 -57kg: Elsa Suisei Koyama Tamayo (MEX), Larissa Lohane Lopes Alves(BRA)
Women K44 -65kg: Leylianne Samara, Ramos Dos Santos (BRA), Yerly Yurani Martinez Ortiz (COL)
Women K44 +65kg: Camila Macedo Dos Santos (BRA), Laura Puntriano (PER)
Focus shifts to Pan Am Series II
A day after some electrifying performances at the qualifier for Santiago 2023, fighters return to the mat for the Pan Am Series II Para Taekwondo event.
While some promising names including Claudio D'Andrade, who got his big breakthrough with a gold, aimed for the maximum 10 world ranking points, local stars including Tokyo 2020 medallists Torquato and Mendes too made the most of the opportunity to prepare themselves for major events later this year. As many as 10 gold medallists were decided in the Series held on March 24, 2023.
In women's events, Mexico's top ranked fighters Claudia Romero (women's -47kg) stopped Cuban Rodriguez's amazing run beating her 5-1 on point difference.
However, Mendes had to settle for the silver going down 6-0 to Mexico's Vargas Fernanda in women's +65kg. The result meant Mendes must work on her technique and tactic going into the Parapan Am Games.
Thumbs up from Para Taekwondo Chairperson
Para Taekwondo Committee chairman Chakir Chelbat was happy with the successful organization of both the events in Rio de Janeiro.
“We are happy to witness high-level competition at the qualifiers and the Pan Am Series II. The local organizers, Pan American Taekwondo Union, and Brazilian Federation have put in a lot of efforts in all the areas to make the events a success and we are very happy with the outcome. There were also several players who were classified at the event. We look forward to a great Parapan Am Games in November,” said Chelbat, who was present at the events as a World Taekwondo technical delegate.
Chelbat also acknowledged the ‘amazing job’ done by the World Taekwondo classifiers Achanti and Manuel during both the events.
President of the Brazilian Taekwondo Federation Alberto Maciel Junior too shared his contentment on the success of the qualifying event for the Santiago 2023 Pan American, Para Pan American Games, and the Pan-Am Series II.
Bipartite application process opens on May 1
If you thought, you had missed the bus for one of the biggest events of the year, you might have been lucky as World Taekwondo is set to start Bipartite application process for Santiago 2023 Parapan American Games.
The National Paralympic Committees and Member Nation Associations are requested to send athletes’ applications to fill in the 14 spots (medal events) for Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games.
The process for the same opens on May 1, 2023, until June 30, 2023.
Information on the Bipartite invitation application process has already been sent to all NPCs and MNAs in first week of April.