"I have been training very hard for a long time because I knew I could win the gold medal. I am happy to see that so much effort bears fruit"
Cuba’s Leydis Rodriguez, Brazil’s Maria Rizonaide and Chile’s Jorge Carinao Cárdenas all claimed gold on the first day of powerlifting at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games on Saturday (8 August).
Competing in the women’s up to 41 and 45kg class, Rodriguez improved her own Americas record by 17kg to take the gold with a 77kg lift (90.49 points). The 31-year-old improved her regional record each round, starting with an opening lift of 67.0kg. She then lifted 72.0kg in the second, before extending her lead in the final round to 77.0kg. Mexico’s Laura Cerero Gabriel (68.0kg/77.03 points) and Mayra Hernández Godinez (65.0kg/73.35 points) finished with a silver and a bronze medal respectively.
“I was very confident that I could win the gold medal for my country,” Rodriguez said. “I am sure I will perform well at the Rio Paralympics,” she added.
Despite a failed second round attempt of 73kg, Brazil’s Maria Rizonaide managed to haul the weight in the third round to take Brazil’s first gold of the Games. She set a new Parapan record on her way to topping the podium in the women’s up to 50kg class.
“I feel very happy and proud. I want to thank to God, to my family and to my friends. My dream came true,” she said.
Colombia’s Nohemi Carabali (67.0kg) sealed silver, whilst Mexico’s Rosaura Rodríguez Padilla (65.0kg) collected the bronze. Argentina’s Karen Rodríguez (53.0kg) finished fourth after setting a new Junior Americas Record.
"I am very happy for the record, I did not expect it," the 20-year-old said afterwards.
Jorge Carinao Cárdenas (148.0kg/166.40 points) won Chile’s first gold medal in the men’s combined up to 49kg and 54kg class with an Americas record. Chile only won one gold medal four years ago in Guadalajara, Mexico, in table tennis. Cuba’s César Rubio Guerra (140.0kg/157.55 points) registered claimed silver ahead of Brazil’s Luciano Bezerra Dantas (138.0kg/154.60 points).
“I have been training very hard for a long time because I knew I could win the gold medal. I am happy to see that so much effort bears fruit,” said Cardenas.