Santiago de Chile, Nov 20 (EFE).- The couple of Cuban para judokas Sheyla Hernández and Yordani Fernández were determined to ambush Brazil, which arrived this Monday with a clear dominance of the competition in which it had already won six golds, when It was the turn of the islanders to take to the tatami at the Santiago 2023 Parapan American Games.
Sheyla was first in her +70 kilogram J1/J2 category and with an Ippon she won the first gold medal that did not end up in the hands of the leaders, beating, precisely, the Brazilian Meg Rodrigues.
“I feel very good, I really prepared a lot to beat the Brazilian, my work came out and I am very happy to have fulfilled my goal, which was to win the gold medal for my country,” Hernández told Agencia EFE at the end of her combat at the Contact Sports Center of the National Stadium Park in the Chilean capital.
Her husband, Yordani, would compete in the last final of the discipline minutes later and she did not hide her wish that both of them could win the gold. “He is here with me competing for her medal, God willing that we both take it to Cuba,” she wished.
The Cuban coaches seemed anxious, longing for another victory, which Fernández ended up achieving in the +90 kilograms J1/J2 category also against the Brazilian and world champion Willians Silva, also with Ippon.
With a broad smile, Yordani arrived at the interview area, the happiness of someone who has achieved what was planned, because the couple had made their strategy and arrived this Monday with an established plan to put the Cuban flag on the last two gold medals in the middle. of an enclosure with a large Brazilian ‘twist’.
“We talked about it, we were focused on the objective. Since the Saturday that the pareo (combat pairing) came out, when we saw who he was fighting us with, we sat down and talked about it. We drew up a strategy to get to the fight, I have more experience than her (Sheyla) in the competition and I knew how to explain it to her and everything went satisfactorily and we both won the gold,” he assured the EFE Agency.
Fernández’s was a complicated fight. “I felt great, I wasn’t confident but I wasn’t pressured either. He is an athlete (Silva) who we have competed several times, he as J1 and I as J2, we are leaders here in America in the two divisions and I knew that the fight was not going to be easy,” he added.
Both with severe visual impairment, but with different trajectories. Sheyla began competing internationally in 2021 with a fifth place in a Grand Prix in the United Kingdom. She arrived at Santiago 2023 with two silvers in his category, one at the world championship in Baku, Azerbaijan, and another at the Parapan American championship of the discipline in Edmonton, Canada, both in 2022.
Yordani is a Paralympic bronze medalist from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and fifth place in Tokyo 2020, and had won two Parapan American golds in Toronto 2015 and Lima 2019 in the +100 kilogram category.
The couple’s next plan is to reach Paris 2024 together, for which they are well on their way. Both are ranked among the top five in their divisions and staying there will allow them to achieve it.
Sheyla is even more excited: “We both want to have medals in Paris too.”