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Dateline: 22 September 2000
Cuba's dominating women's judo team trounce the competition, including America's own Amy Tong and Sandy Bacher.
Cuba's women's team dominated the judo competition, with medals in the 52kg, 57kg, 70kg, and +78kg divisions, including two golds. "The Cuban women's team is amazing," said Amy Tong, the U.S. judoka at 78kg, before she left for Sydney. "Every one of their women medaled at Worlds." The Cuban women, led by gold medallists Legna Verdecia and Sibelis Veranes, blasted the competition, including the heralded Japanese team.
Amy Tong, subject of our About Martial Arts profile earlier this week, fought hard but was knocked out of the competition by Diadenys Luna of Cuba. "It's amazing," said Tong before her trip to Sydney, "for such a small country, they really churn out medallists." Tong was penalized, garnering shido--meaning that Luna would receive koka, or partial point. That koka was enough to win the match. Luna later lost in the bronze medal match to Emanuela Pierantozzi of Italy.
|In the repechage (second chance) round, Tong put on the pressure, resulting in Team Canada's Kim Ribble being carried from the ring with a sprained knee and possible fractured ankle. Despite Ribble's default, Tong was unable to gather enough standing in the round to move up to the bronze medal match.|
|Amy Tong and Sandy Bacher, just before departing for Sydney.|
Sandy Bacher fared better, making it to the quarterfinals before being bested by eventual gold medallist Sibelis Veranes of Cuba. Bacher eliminated the home country favorite, Cath Arlove of Australia, in her first match, scoring two yuko and finishing her off with an ippon. Bacher then moved on to take on Veranes, but was unable to upset the Cuban, who as the reigning world champion was favored to win the division.
In the repechage, Bacher faced Germany's Yvonne Wansart, who had won the European Championships in the past and was a tough opponent. Wansart shut out Bacher, scoring yuko and waza-ari while leaving Bacher scoreless.
Both American women fought hard and did well considering the tough draw.
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