- BBC News World
Since she was a child, she dreamed of entering the School for Sports Initiation School (EIDE), the pool of future athletes who have led Cuba to the top of world sport.
In two decades of rising career, judoka Idalys Ortiz once again marks a milestone by winning the silver medal in the 78-kilo category at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ortiz accumulates like this four medals in four consecutive Olympic Games, equaling the medal record of his compatriot, also judoka Driulis González.
With the conquest of the silver medal he affirms his position not only as a legend of the sport of Latin America but as one of the most decorated judokas in the world.
His consecration has come at the cost of much sacrifice, passion and dedication, as he told the Cuban media Granma, before leaving for Tokyo.
“Behind a medal there is a lot, for example more than half of my life on tatami mats [las esteras en las que se practica el judo], training, running in the sun; Behind a medal is that for three months I have not seen my mother or that at the age of 31 I have not been able to have children “.
History of Idalys Ortiz
- Beijing 2008 – bronze
- London 2012 – gold
- Rio 2012 – silver
- Tokyo 2020 – plata
- Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 2013 – champion
- Chelyabinsk, Russia, 2014 – champion
- Guadalajara 2011 – gold
- Toronto 2015 – oro
- Lima 2019 – gold
Born in Pinar del Río on September 27, 1989, Ortiz entered the sport of judo at the age of 9 and at 15 she was part of the Cuban national team.
After winning two Pan American Judo Championships titles in 2007 and 2008, he became the youngest judoka to achieve an Olympic medal in the heavy category with a bronze in Beijing 2008.
Unbeatable on a continental level, Ortiz won gold at the 2012 London Games, starting a winning streak by being crowned world champion in 2013 and 2014.
After winning his second gold medal at the Pan American Games in Toronto 2015 (the first was in Guadalajara 2011), he again represented his country at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where he obtained silver.
He defended his Pan American title in Lima 2019, before participating in her fourth Tokyo 2020 Olympiad, where she just received the silver medal after facing the Japanese Akira Sone, in the final of the 78 kilos category.
Then it was time to participate in Tokyo 2020, his fourth Olympic Games, an event that had to be postponed for a year due to the pandemic that had an impact on his physical preparation.
“I got sick myself, and I spent a few days with compulsory rest, so I was crushed,” she told Granma.
During that year lost a large number of important matches, decisive elements in obtaining a good sports form. However, she led the Cuban women’s team to Tokyo with pride and responsibility.
On his way to the final at Tokyo’s iconic Nippon Budokan Coliseum, Ortiz defeated Rochele Nunes of Portugal, Shiyan Xu of China and Romane Dicko of France, whom he convincingly dominated.
In the final match, there was “a lot of strategy and a lot of care between the two”, as Granma described it, which “was defined in overtime by a false attack by Idalis.”
According to the official Tolkio Games site, Idalys Ortiz ranked first in the Judo world rankings in 2018 and 2019. In Cuba she was named Athlete of the Year in 2013 and 2016 by the National Institute of Sports and the Circle of Sports Journalists.
Ortiz’s silver is the second medal obtained by the Cuban delegation in Tokyo so far, with the bronze achieved by Rafael Alba in the men’s takewondo category of 80 kilos.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.