The International Judo Federation’s first visit to Cancun served up a dynamic second day of World Judo Tour competition at the Poliforum Benito Juarez.
Mexico’s first Grand Prix started with a day that will live long in the memory for the home team. Day one was always going to be a hard act to follow but there was ippon judo in abundance as the women’s under 63 kilogram and men’s under 70 kilogram categories and the men’s under 73 kilogram and under 81 kilogram categories were contested.
Emmanuel Lucenti from Argentina bested Sagi Muki in his first fight as they contested the under 81 kilogram category.
Two-time Olympian Lucenti, 32, went on to triumph over Etienne Briand from Canada in the final, scoring waza ari.
He was in jubilant mood, saying “My trainer is my friend and I have my family. I feel good in my city. I have a good condition now because I am happy.
When I am happy on the mat, I think that it’s my best judo.”
Mexico’s Deputy Director of Quality for Sport, Yanes Gonzalez was on hand to award Brazilian Ketleyn Quadros her gold medal for the women’s under 63 kilogram division.
She took ippon against Cergia David from Honduras in her first round fight, before sweeping her Slovenian opponent in the semi-final.
Britain’s Amy Livesey stood in her way in the final, but she too was beaten by ippon, leaving Quadros to add to her gold medal tally from Tashkent and Almaty in 2013.
In the second semi-final earlier, Bernabeu bested Antalya Grand Prix bronze medallist Gemma Howell from Britain by a waza ari score as the Spanish team continued to thrive in Mexico.
The first bronze medal was claimed by Howell who held down Brazil’s Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Barbara Timo for twenty seconds to win by by ippon. Former junior standout and London 2012 Olympian Howell is now enjoying the best run of her career as she has been able to stay injury free and has now won three Grand Prix medals this year.
The medals continued to flow for Brazil as Marcelo Contini defeated Israel’s Tohar Butbul, improving on his second place from the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam in 2017.
And the women’s hotly contested under 70 kilogram category came down to Maria Bernabeu from Spain and Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Sally Conway.
Bernabeu eventually prevailed with a foot sweep for waza ari and Conway was disqualified after receiving three penalties.