Edition No. 24. Autumn, 2000. Today is

2000 Pan American Judo Championships

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By: Matt Carter

Day 1 (10 Nov, 2000), Day 2, Day 3

Women -63kg, -70kg, -78kg, +78kg
Men -81kg, -90kg, -100kg, +100kg

Kissimmee, USA – The 2000 Pan American Judo Championships were held just outside of Orlando, Florida in the town of Kissimme, home to the world famous Walt Disney World and Universal Studios theme parks. Jointly hosted by USA Judo and Florida 2012 (the bid committee for 2012 Olympic Summer Games), the Opening Ceremony of the championships featured speeches by the President of Florida 2012, USA Judo President Yosh Uchhida and PJU President Jaime Casanova. There were only 128 competitors representing 18 countries this year, making the event somewhat smaller than usual. This was due in part to the fact that the championships came some two months after the Sydney Olympics. Noticeably absent was Pan American powerhouse Cuba, who did not send a team due to visa problems. Brazil also failed to send a men's team - in fact, only one male and three female Brazilians took part. This left much of the field wide open and paved the way for a number of players to take medals that might not have otherwise.

Women -63kg

The -63kg category was the largest group of the 4 women's classes being contested on the first day, but still featured only 6 players. Two of these however, were Sydney Olympians, Vania Ishii (BRA) and Sophie Roberge (CAN). Ishii, who finished a very respectable 7th in Sydney. Both players had had a lot of success in the Pan American tournaments, owning 3 Pan Am medals each. Interestingly, Roberge was the gold medallist at the 1999 Pan American Judo Championships held last November in Monte Video, Uruguay,while Ishii was the reinging Pan American Games champion.

Roberge looked strong in her opening fight and was coming off a gold medal performance at Rendezvous Canada 2000 two weeks previously. She handily defeated Marta Cavila (CHI) with some excellent groundwork to score ippon with kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame. In the semi-final she met Ishii. The Brazillian champion came on to the mats with a determined look in her eyes that meant business. And she delivered. In a hard fought contest she beat Roberge at her own game with an osae-komi win for ippon. Roberge went on the win the bronze with a skillful rollover into a juji-gatame armlock that caused a less experienced Cindy Imai (USA) to submit. Ishii fought Jessica Garcia (PUR) in the final, scoring a quick yuko with a swift ashi-barai. She followed this up with another yuko from seoinage from which she continued into kesa-gatame for the ten point win.

Men –81kg

The men's -81kg category featured some tough competitors including French-born Uruguayan, Alvaro Paseyro who placed a strong 5th at the Sydney Olympics; 1999 Pan American silver medallist Ariel Sganga (ARG); and Ernst Laraque (HAI) who received a silver medal in the –73kg category last year in Uruguay.

Sganga started his day with a victory over the former Romanian, turned Canadian, Alexandru Ciupe. This was followed with a narrow win over up and coming American, Aaron Cohen. Cohen had a lot of fight in him, but just couldn't score on the Argentinian, loosing by a shido.
Cohen had upset tournament favourite, Paseyro in his opening match with a last second morote-gari. On the other side of the draw Daniel Insua (VEN) beat Abederrman Brenes (PUR) by ippon and then defeated Laraque (HAI). Laraque looked like he might win this one as he attempted a nice reverse seoinage, but was coutered coming out of the throw for ippon. Laraque was relegated to the repechage and went on to fight Paseyro in an entertaining bronze medal match up between two classy fighters. Paseyro had the better day and scored a lovely ippon with a left-sided uchimata. Despite the bronze however, Paseyro was viibly upset with his performance on the day, having felt that he should have left the tournament with a gold medal. The second bronze medal was awarded to Cohen who beat Brenes with a nice throw for ippon.

The final was a somewhat anticlimactic affair between Sganga and Insua. Early in the match Sganga seemed to be in control, but relaxed momentarily and was caught with a slow rolling kata-guruma, which gave the Venezualan a waza-ari lead. The next few minutes saw the Argentinian looking for penalties for Insua rather than attempting to throw him -- at one point he even signaled to the referee that a waza-ari should have been called. However, with 30 seconds left he found the score he needed and threw Insua for ippon with a solid uchimata to add a gold to his previous Pan Am silver.

Women –70kg

With only 5 competitors, the –70kg category was fought in a round robin format in which each player fought everyone else once. The class of this category was clearly Marie Chisholm (CAN) who won all of her matches in convincing fashion, begining with a drop seoi-nage win over Nancy Acosta (MEX). Her next fight was her toughest as she faced Sandra Bacher (USA). Chisholm worked hard on the ground and rolled Bacher into a nice scoring position with a sangaku-jime hold, but failed to turn into her opponent enough to justify an osae-komi call. She scored later with a yuko, which was enough to take the match. Her next fight was won on the ground with a quick transition from standing to groundwork and she held down Ivonne Perez (PUR) for ippon with kuzure-kesa-gatame. The final match in the round robin was against a less experienced Denia Ponce (HON) whom she defeated without much difficulty to finish with 35 out of a possible 40 points in the round robin. Bacher and Acosta both finished with 20 points each, but Bacher received the silver by virtue of her 20-second ippon victory over the Mexican, who was awarded the bronze.

Men –90kg

Although he hadn't competed since his 5th place showing at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Canada's Keith Morgan was the favourite going into the Men's –90kg category. Morgan produced some excellent judo starting with a beautiful sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi in his first contest against Jose Boissard (DOM). His next fight saw him take on Andres Perez (VEN) who he threw for waza-ari with a drop seoinage, which he followed through with kuzure-kesa-gatame for the ippon. In the semi-finals he met Jose Goldschmied (MEX) and threw him with a nice sumi-gaeshi that he continued into ne-waza and scored ippon with yoko-shiho-gatame. The final pitted Morgan against a strong Chilean named Gabriel Lama. Lama had scored ippon with a very nice left-sided drop seoinage over Mark Fletcher (USA) to earn his spot in the final. The Morgan-Lama fight was a scoreless draw, but did not lack excitement. After catching a knee between the legs Morgan sucked it up and fought on, nearly scoring with a big hiza-guruma that Lama just managed to spin out of. When the five minutes was up, Morgan clearly had the upper hand and deserved a unanimous decision, however one judge felt otherwise and favoured the Chilean. Nevertheless Morgan edged him out with a 2-1 split to win the title. The bronze medals went to Alejandro Gonzalez (ARG) and Boissard (DOM), both of whom won their finals in decisive fashion with quick ippon throws.

Women –78kg

Like the –70kg category, -78kg was also a small group and was decided through a round robin competition. Venezuela, Canada, USA and Puerto Rico were the four countries represented in the women's light heavyweight division. Amy Cotton (CAN) who finished with a perfect reord of 30 points as she beat each of her three opponents with ippon scores won the gold medal. Because of the round robin system there was no actual final in any of the categories featuring fewer than 6 players, so the organizers held back one match in each round robin category. Fittingly, the match that was held over in this category turned out to be the deciding gold medal match between Cotton and Amy Tong (USA). Cotton opened the scoring with a driving seoinage, which she followed through into kuzure-kesa-gatame to win the fight. Tong ended up with 17 points coming from previous victories over Marianela Astudicco (VEN) and Zoriel Ortiz (PUR) to claim the silver medal. Astudicco picked up the bronze thanks to an ippon she scored against Ortiz.

Men –100kg

Without reigning Pan American Games champion and Olympic silver medallist Nicolas Gill in attendance, and no entries from Cuba or Brazil, US Olympian Ato Hand was the odds on favourite to take gold in the men's light heavyweight division. Hand lived up to his billing in the preliminary rounds with wins over Victor Sanchez (COL) and Andres Loforte (ARG), who he dumped with a powerful harai-maki-komi. If anyone was going to stop Hand it was Vicbart Geraldino (DOM). Geraldino moved up to –100kg after the Sydney Olympics had won the –90kg category at last year's Pan Am Championships in Uruguay. He earned a spot in the final after throwing Steven Edmonds (CAN) with a huge o-goshi that was one of the highlights of the day. In the final he looked like he might topple Hand as he came in with a big uchimata, but he just couldn't get the bigger American up high enough to off balance him and execute the throw. As he came out of the technique, Hand countered him and scored an ippon to win the top spot on the podium. Edmonds fought well in the bronze medal final, out classing Luis Gregori Lopez (VEN) in a tough 5-minute match. The other bronze went to Loforte who skillfully maneuvered Barry Jackman into osae-komi to secure the win.

Women +78kg

The women's heavyweight category had only four competitors and was also contested in a round robin format. As fate would have it the match that was held over until the evening's final round turned out to be the deciding one once again. It featured Olia Berger (CAN) who was fresh off a silver medal performance at the recent 2000 US Open and former Pan American champion, Carmen Chala (ECU). Despite a handful of medals at past Pan American Championships from Chala, it was Berger who appeared to be the one to beat in the final. She had disposed of Nanoushka St. Pre (USA) and Geovanna Blanco (VEN) with solid ippon victories earlier in the day, while Chala hadn't managed a score anything higher than a yuko in her previous two wins. But the experience of the Ecudorian Olympian came through at the right time and she threw the Canadian with a swift o-uchi-gari just seconds into the final to win the gold. Blanco picked up the bronze by virtue of an earlier decision over Nanoushka 

Men +100kg

The men's heavyweight category was without Sydney Olympic quarter-finalists, Angel Sanchez (CUB) and Daniel. Hernandes (BRA) and so it looked to be wide open as 2000 US Open medallists Joel Brutus (HAI) and Peter Campbell (USA) vied for a spot on the rostrum along side veteran Pan Am medallist, Orlando Baccino (ARG). When the dust had settled however, it was Campbell of the United States who took home the gold. Campbell, who had a bye in the first round, defeated Reinaldo Vargas (VEN) in his opening match. In the final he beat 1997 Pan American champion, Baccino with a vice grip-like kesa-gatame to claim the gold.
Vargas went through the repechage and came away with a bronze medal despite being behind by a yuko to Brutus (HAI). The Haitian had received a third medical stoppage and was disqualified because a bloody nose he had received earlier in the match would not stop bleeding. It was a tough loss for Brutus who desperately wanted to fight on, but rules are rules and he bowed out disappointed. Vasquez beat Trevor McAlpine (CAN) to earn the other bronze medal. Vasquez threw the big Canadian with a nice sode-tsuri-komi-goshi to collect his second Pan American bronze medal.

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

Women -44kg, -48kg, -52kg, -57kg

Men -55kg, -60kg, -66kg, -73kg, OPEN

Kissimmee, USA – November 11, 2000 – Day two of the 2000 Pan American Judo Championships saw the lightweights compete, including two extra lightweight categories that are unique among the four continental championships: -44kg for women and –55kg for men. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we also saw the men's open weight contested.
Women –44kg -44kg was a small category in number as well as in weight, having only 5 entries. Again, this resulted in a round robin format. Susej Oliveros (VEN) came out on top with 31 out of a possible 40 points. She won all her matches by ippon except the last one, which she won by forfeit. On route to her gold medal she overcame Xochilt Rodriguez (NCA) by ippon with a left uchimata, Katherine Ensler (USA) by ippon with juji-gatame and Isabel Latulippe (CAN) who she also beat by ippon. The silver medal went to Ensler who won two fights with osae-komi-waza, scoring yuko over Latulippe with kuzure-yoko-shiho-gatame and ippon over Rodriguez with sangaku-kata-gatame. The bronze medal was given to Latulippe who defeated Rodriguez with tate-shiho-gatame.

Men –55kg

The –55kg category included only 7 fighters and Rashad Chin (CAN) was the odd man out, receiving a bye through to the quarter-finals where he met Sebastian Paz (ARG). Paz beat him with ko-soto-gari for waza-ari to advance to the final against Juan Roman (PUR). In the repechage Chin faced Israel Berrios (ESA) whom he threw twice with drop seoinage, the second time scoring ippon to take a bronze medal. In the other bronze medal match up, last year's silver medallist, Hiram Cruz (USA) had his hands full with Juan Paula (DOM). Paula threw him for three yukos with de-ashi-barai, o-uchi-gari and finally uchi-mata to win a bronze.  
The final featured Juan Roman (PUR) and Paz (ARG). After the referee awarded a shido to Paz in the opening seconds of the match, both men kicked it up a gear. But it was the Puerto Rican who struck first with a low kata-guruma to win his country's only gold of these championships to the delight of the many Puerto Ricans in attendance.

Women –48kg

Eight women fought in the –48kg category, meaning half of them would leave with a medal. Starting with the bronze medals, we saw Junior World silver medallist Sayaka Matsumoto (USA) against Kris Soto (VEN). Matsumoto threatened to score early in the match with an uchimata, but failed to get enough pull on her opponent's sleeve hand to finish the throw. The rest of the match was a battle for grips and that resulted in a 2-1 decision in favour of the American. In the other bronze medal match up Mariana Martins (BRA) made short work of Nadia Bravo (ARG), armlocking her with juji-gatame at the 1:30 second mark.
The final saw Cynthia Tan (CAN) up against Adriana Losada (MEX). Tan nearly scored early with a left seoinage and clearly dominated the match despite not putting any points on the board. Interestingly, the referee's decision was in favour of the Mexican, while both corner judges raised the blue flag giving Tan two out of three votes for the decision.

Men –60kg

The –60kg category was the largest of the tournament with 12 competitors including last year's champion, Emiliano Sosa (ARG). Sosa beat Hector Galloza (PUR) in his first match, but was stopped in the quarter-finals by Brazil's Denilson Lourenco and was forced to fight through the repechage for a bronze. In the repechage he was set to face Juan Maria Santa (PAN), but the Panamanian withdrew, setting up a bronze medal match between Sosa and Cristobal Aburto (MEX). This was a frustrating affair as both fighters were penalised to keikoku for non-combativity. However, thanks to a couple of early scores from Sosa coming from seoinage (yuko) and te-guruma (koka), he came out the winner. The second bronze featured a two time bronze medallist, Juan Jacinto (DOM). Jacinto won bronze medals at the 1998 Pan Am Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada. He added a third bronze to his collection with an excellent seoi-otoshi to score ippon in just over a minute.
Meanwhile, the silver medallist from the 1999 Pan American Games was looking to do one better at these championships. Lourenco was the only male athlete from Brazil at these championships and came here with only one thing on his mind, a gold medal.. He was well on his way with to achieving that aim with a second round ippon victory over Sosa, the reining Pan American champion. He then faced Antonio Rivas (ARG) and held him down with tate-shiho-gatame for another ippon win. This took him to the final against a Daniel Simmard (CAN). Simmard had had a busy couple of weeks leading up to these championships, taking medals at both the US Open (gold) and Rendezvous Canada (bronze). After ippon victories over Felipe Novoa (CHI) and Aburto (MEX), Simmard earned a spot in the final and hoped to add Pan Am gold to his resume. The final between Lourenco and Simmard began with the Canadian being penalised for a false attack. He quickly responded with an o-uchi-gari attack, but was pushed down by Lourenco and fell behind by another koka. The strong overhand grip of Lourenco was a major factor and Simmard had trouble putting in any decent attacks. Eventually he did attack again and was countered for a waza-ari. This proved to be the decisive score, giving Lourenco his gold.

Women –52kg

Once again we saw a round robin format as this category had only 5 combatants. Charlee Minkin, whose sister Davina was also fighting today in the –57kg category, was the winner of this group. Minkin was coming off recent bronze medal showings on the North American Judo Tour and had a strong day finishing all of her opponents off with ippon.
Emi Tasaka (CAN) had the next best record with 3 ippon victories. Tasaka scored quick wins against Rubenia Castro (ESA), whom she choked out in 40 seconds with kata-te-jime, and Elizabeth Melendez (PUR) whom she threw in 1:23 seconds with a nice sode-tsurikomi-goshi. Her third victory was against Jakelin Diaz (VEN). Melendez picked up the bronze based her two wins.

Men –66kg

-66kg was a strong field that boasted a number of former Pan American medallists including Ludwig Ortiz (VEN), Miguel Moreno (ESA) and Alex Ottiano (USA). Indeed each of these fighters lived up to their billing and all collected medals, but it was Ortiz who stood at the top of the podium. However, one man tried to make it as difficult as possible for all of them; that man was a newcomer on the Pan American scene by the name of Faycal Bousbiat. Bousbiat, who is originally from Algeria, received his Canadian citizenship a year and a half ago and now fights under the Canadian flag. He had previously represented Algeria at the World Championships placing as high as 5th place. Bousbiat made his presence known in his first Pan American Championships with impressive victories over Ottiano and Moreno on his way to a spot in the final against Ortiz. He beat Ottiano with a de-ashi-barai that scored a yuko and threw Moreno for ippon with kata-guruma. As a result, both Moreno and Ottiano were relegated to the repechage where the fought back to each win 3 repechage fights and receive bronze medals.
The final between Bousbiat and Ortiz ended in some confusion as many in attendance thought that the contest should have ended in a decision due to a last second chui against Ortiz, but a look at the scoreboard soon confirmed that this was not the case as Ortiz was ahead by a koka. Bousbiat opened the scoring with a koka from tomoe-nage, but was later penalised for staying in the red area for too long. This evened the score and with 30 seconds remaining he was penalised again for non-combativity. This gave Ortiz the lead. In the last second, Ortiz was also penalised for non-combativity, but as this was only worth a shido to Bousbiat it was not enough to even the score. The result was a gold medal for Ludwig Ortiz or Argentina.

Women –57kg

Six women were entered in the –57kg category including 3-time Canadian Olympian and former Pan American champion, Michelle Buckingham. Buckingham, who last won the Pan Am title in 1997 at –61kg, came out of retirement in 1999 after a year lay off and was out to reclaim her title. This was made easier with a bye in the first round, but in the second round she faced 1998 bronze medallist, Claudia Quinteros (ARG). She threw the Argentinean with morote-gari, ko-soto-gari and finally held her with tate-shiho-gatame for ippon. This led to a spot in the final against 1999 bronze medallist, Tania Ferreira (BRA). Ferreira had won her previous two bouts with powerful throws -- uchimata and sode-tsurikomi-goshi. The final therefore looked to be an exciting one. It began with the taller Ferreira overpowering Buckingham with a strong overhand grip, but the experienced Canadian was able to overcome this disadvantage despite receiving a penalty for avoiding gripping and scored a nice yuko with o-uchi-gari moments later. This proved decisive and other than Ferreira being penalised for same side gripping, there were no other scores in the 5-minute match. The win gave Canada their 5th gold of the championships to lead the gold medal count.
The bronze medals were won by Davina Minkin (USA). Minkin's sister had earlier won a bronze in the –52kg category. Minkin defeated Quinteros with a very neat sumi-gaeshi rollover that she used to secure a holddown with ushiro-kesa-gatame. Meanwhile, Vitcelis Boraure (VEN) won the other bronze with a quick morote-seoinage victory over Roxana Garcia (PUR).

Men –73kg

With 8 competitors in the –73kg category, each player began with a spot in the quarter-finals, however it was Orlando Fuentes (USA), Yamil Delgado (PUR), Francois Marceau (CAN) and Antonio Parra (DOM) who made it to the semi-finals. In the Pool A semi Fuentes beat Delgado with an ippon. Pool B saw Marceau throw Parra for ten with harai-goshi.
In the repechage Lucas Landolfi (ARG) beat Jamal Grovesnor (BAR) and Parra after losing to Orlando Fuentes in his first match to leave Florida with a bronze medal. Richard Leon (VEN) followed a similar path, losing to Marceau in his first fight and then winning two straight in the repechage to take the other bronze medal.

Men's Open

Registration for the men's open took place at 10:30am on the morning of competition and 7 fighters ranging in weight from –90kg to over 100kg entered. Due to a lack of entries there was no women's open.
Joel Brutus (HAI) was looking to vindicate a disqualification he received yesterday due to a bloody nose in the +100kg category. However, his gold medal hopes were dashed in the semi-finals when he lost to Orlando Baccino (ARG) in a decision. Brutus dropped into the repechage and beat Victor Sanchez (COL) to claim Haiti's only medal of the championships. The other bronze went to Carlos Santiago (PUR) after he defeated Reinaldo Vargas (VEN) with a koka. The open final was everything that the open is supposed to be; in the match between Gabriel Lama (CHI) and Orlando Baccino (ARG) we saw a smaller –90kg player take on a true heavyweight in an entertaining final. After losing a very close split decision in the –90kg final the day before, Lama was eager to take home a gold this time round. He began his quest for gold with a win over –100kg player, Victor Sanchez. Lama made short work of the heavier Sanchez, holding him for ippon in 50 seconds with kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame. In his next fight he defeated Venezuela's +100kg bronze medallist, Reinaldo Vargas with a te-guruma that scored him a yuko. This win put him in the final against Baccino. Bacinno had already polished off –90kg bronze medal winner, Jose Boissard (DOM) with a big tani-otoshi and then got past Joel Brutus with a decision. The final began with both fighters sizing each other up, unfortunately it took a little longer than it should have and they both received shido penalties for non-combativity. Lama picked up the pace and put in a number of good attacks over the next few minutes but just couldn't move the bigger Argentinean enough to finish any of his techniques. However, the superior fitness of Lama began to show through as he outworked his opponent and Baccino received two more non-combativity penalties putting him behind by a waza-ari and dangerously close to receiving hansoku-make. With just over half a minute left, Lama finally scored with a nice ko-uchi-gari, but his waza-ari was already enough to win and he claimed his open weight gold. Lama also received the Best Player Award for the championships as a result of his two medals. He said afterwards that he was honoured to win the award and that he is very happy to have his judo recognised by this award. Lama will now return to South America to train in Chile and Brazil in preparation for next year's European circuit and the World Championships in Munich.

Check out our Team & Kata photo gallery »

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

Team and Kata Competition

Kissimmee, USA – November 12, 2000 – The final day of the 2000 Pan American Judo Championships offered something a little different from the usual continental championship. For the first time ever, Kata was offered as an official Pan American championship event. The Kata being performed were Nage no Kata, Katame no Kata and Ju no Kata. In adition to the Kata, there was also a team competition. Each team was made up of 5 players. Team competitions have long been a feature on the European circuit and of course in Japan, but this was the first time that such an event was held at the Pan American Championships.
The team event was scheduled and included only 8 teams because of the lower than usual number of athletes competing at this year's championships. In the men's competition, 5 countries took part: Canada, Argentina, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the United States. The women had only three teams: Canada, Venezuela and the US. Despite the small number of teams, the event was still a good one and was exciting and enjoyable for both the spectators and the participants. Canada, who won the most medals in the previous two day's individual categories, continued their strong showing taking both the men's and the women's team titles. Each of the 5 players on each team received medals. In adition to the medals, Sophie Roberge (-63kg bronze) accepted the inaugural Pan American Team Trophy on behalf of the Canadian women's team, while -90kg gold medal winner, Keith Morgan accepted the award for the men. Morgan commented afterwards that "team events are always fun, especially 5 man competitions." He added that although team competitions are not currently part of their National championships, he likes the idea and would like to see more of them Canada and in major competitions. Canadian team member, Steven Edmonds (-100kg bronze) also voiced his support for the team event, saying that they "help build team camaraderie and spirit."

1. Canada 2. Venezuela 3. USA
1. Canada 2. Argentina 3. Venezuela

After the team medal ceremony, the Pan American Judo Union gave out their annual awards for the Male and Female athletes of the year. Winning the Male award was 2000 Sydney Olympic –100kg silver medallist, Nicolas Gill (CAN). The female award went to a Cuban fighter.

The Kata competition began immediately after the medal ceremonies. There were only 4 nations represented and 28 competitors, but for many of them it was a unique opportunity to represent their country at an international event. That being said, it's worth mentioning that there were also some fighters participating as well, including Sydney Olympian, Jekelin Diaz (-52kg VEN) and Daniel Insua (VEN). Insua won the silver medal in the men's -81kg on the first day of competition here.

The first Kata to be judged was Ju no Kata (Forms of Gentleness). In the female division, there were two American pairs and one pair from Canada. The team of Teri Schweitzer and Claudia Smith from the USA received the highest scores from the panel of judges to win the first ever Pan American gold in Kata competition. The male division included only two pairs, both from the United States, which, as the host nation, was allowed two extra entries in each division. Both pairs were very good and less than 10 points separated them, but the team of Mark Pasquinelly and Alan Panackia scored slightly higher to take the first gold medal for the men. 87-year-old Keiko Fukuda presented the medals. Fukuda-sensei is a Japanese hachidan (8th degree) who now resides in San Francisco, USA. She is the highest ranking female in the world and is regarded by many as a living treasure.

The next Kata was the groundwork Kata, Katame no Kata. 6 teams participated in this event, three male and three female. Schweitzer and Smith won their second gold medal in the female division, while the men's title went to Andrez Dajnowski and Robert Mita of the USA.

Arguably, the most popular Kata, Nage no Kata was the final event of the day. The women's Nage no Kata featured four pairs, two representing the United States of America, one from Canada and one from Venezuela. The men's Nage no Kata also included four pairs, two from the USA, and one each from Venezuela and Dominican Republic. The level of Kata varied between the competitors and it was interesting to note the subtle differences in interpretations of the Kata amongst the various countries. The winners of the women's Nage no Kata were Giselle Gravel and Monette Leblanc of Canada. Dajnowski and Mita (USA) took the gold in the men's division.

Although there were not many spectators left to witness the Kata portion of these championships, it was a nice way to close the championships for those involved. Jekelin Diaz (VEN) who won the bronze in the women's Nage no Kata said afterwards "Kata is a very important part of judo in Venezuela." She added that she feels that it is a key part of judo tradition and should be practiced and included in future championships. With Olympians such as Diaz interested in Kata it bodes well for the future of Kata in modern international judo.

The 2001 Pan American Judo Championships will be held in Coroba, Argentina.



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2000 Pan American
Judo Championships




Cynthia TAN (CAN)

Charlee MINKIN (USA)





Carmen CHALA (ECU)





Ludwig ORTIZ (VEN)






Gabriel LAMA (CHI)

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