Cuba Crowns 5 Champs at Pan Am Olympic Qualifier

By Craig Sesker

FRISCO, Texas (March 5) – Cuba capped an outstanding performance at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier on Saturday at the Dr. Pepper Arena, by winning five men’s freestyle gold medals. Cuba crowned champions in Yowlys BONNE RODRIGUEZ (57kg), Alejandro VALDES TOBIER (65kg), Livan LOPEZ AZCUY (74kg), Reineris SALAS PEREZ (86kg) and Javier CORTINA LACERRA (97kg).

The top two finishers in each of the six men’s freestyle weight classes clinched spots Saturday to advance to August’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Bonne Rodriguez, a World bronze medalist, powered to a 10-0 technical fall over American Tony RAMOS in the 57 kg finals. Bonne Rodriguez has beaten Ramos three times now in the last two years, each time on U.S. soil.

Valdes Tobier opened up a close match in the second period to down 2011 World silver medalist Franklin GOMEZ MATOS (PUR) 8-3 in the finals at 65 kg.

Lopez Azcuy, an Olympic and World medalist, won by medical forfeit over Carlos IZQUIERDO MENDEZ (COL) in the finals at 74 kg.

Salas Perez, a two-time World silver medalist, rallied to down 2012 Olympic silver medalist Jaime ESPINAL (PUR) in the finals at 86 kg. Salas Perez trailed 4-1 at the break before turning up the pressure with a series of leg attacks to come back for a 6-4 win.

Cortina Lacerra used a strong second period to top Jose DIAZ ROBERTTI (VEN) 3-1 in the finals at 97kg. That gave Cuba its fifth title of the day.

2012 Olympian Tervel DLAGNEV (USA), a two-time World bronze medalist, rolled to a 10-0 technical over Korey JARVIS (CAN) in the finals at 125 kg. Dlagnev was wrestling close to home. He grew up in nearby Arlington, Texas.

There will be two more Olympic Games qualifiers after the Pan Am Olympic Qualifier, in Mongolia in April and in Turkey in May.

Pan American countries landed just a total of two Olympic berths in men’s freestyle during the 2015 Worlds in Las Vegas. Those came with Americans Jordan BURROUGHS (74kg) and Kyle SNYDER (97kg) winning World titles.

The Greco-Roman competition is set for Sunday in Texas.

Dr. Pepper Arena, Frisco, Texas
March 4-6, 2016

Men’s freestyle Saturday’s medal matchups

(Top two finishers qualify their countries for 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Gold – Yowlys BONNE RODRIGUEZ (CUB) df. Tony RAMOS (USA) by TF, 10-0
Bronze – Wber CUERO MUNOZ (COL) df. Augustin DESRIBATS (ARG), 8-0
Bronze – Pedro MEJIAS RODRIGUEZ (VEN) df. Jefferson MAYEA FIGUEROA (ECU), 8-0

Gold – Alejandro VALDES TOBIER (CUB) df. Franklin GOMEZ MATOS (PUR), 8-3
Bronze – Brent METCALF (USA) df. Hernan GUZMAN IPUZ (COL), injury default
Bronze – Haislan GARCIA (CAN) df. Jeffry AVILA (DOM) by TF, 10-0

Gold – Livan LOPEZ AZCUY (CUB) df. Carlos IZQUIERDO MENDEZ (COL), medical forfeit
Bronze – Eduardo GAJARDO MENSES (CHI) df. Asnagy CASTELLY (HAI) by TF, 11-0
Bronze – Pedro SOTO CORDERO (PUR) df. Yoan BLANCO REINOSO (ECU), 4-4 criteria

Gold – Reineris SALAS PEREZ (CUB) df. Jaime ESPINAL (PUR), 6-4
Bronze – Jake HERBERT (USA) df. Tamerlan TAGZIEV (CAN), 3-0
Bronze – Pool AMBROCIO GREIFO (PER) df. Edixon PALIDINES ALBERCA (ECU) by Fall, 0:32

Bronze – Jarlys MOSQUERA (COL) df. Paulo SANTOS DE SOUZA (BRA) by TF, 10-0
Bronze – Arjun Gill (CAN) df. Nathaniel Rose (TTO), 9-1

Gold – Tervel DLAGNEV (USA) df. Korey JARVIS (CAN) by TF, 10-0
Bronze – Jesse RUIZ FLORES (MEX) df. Edgardo LOPEZ (PUR), medical forfeit
Bronze – Luis VEVENES (VEN)