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Mar 07 JUDO: Gotay Wins Gold at Pan Am Championships in Miami, Qualifies United States for Beijing at 57kg

May 09, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
For Immediate Release May 9, 2008 Contact: Nicole Jomantas, 719.271.9937 (cell) Nicole.Jomantas@usajudo.us (Miami, Fla.)-Always a perfectionist, even after a gold medal win, it's a rarity to hear Valerie Gotay (Harlingen, Texas / USA Judo National Training Site at Harlingen) say she's happy with how she fought at a tournament. After dealing with injuries this spring, Gotay wasn't sure if she would be able to compete at the Pan American Championships, but given that the event and the Zone Cup on Sunday are the final qualifiers for the Olympic Games in North and South America, she knew exactly how important this tournament would be. Not only did she place well enough to qualify the 57kg division for the United States, she won one of only two gold medals for the United States this week."I think this is the one tournament where I'm pleased with how I performed considering everything that went on to get here. I don't think I could've done better,"Gotay said."I'm just relieved because two weeks ago I didn't even know if I was going to be able to fight, so everything came together at the last moment. I was dealing with an injury that I'd had for a while, but I felt great. My body felt strong. More importantly, that's the big deal for me because that means training for the trials and heading into Beijing I'll be ready."Gotay opened her day with a first round bye and then threw Candida Ramirez (GUA) for ippon (instant win) in her first match. In the semifinal, Gotay and 2001 World Champion Yurisleidys Lupetey (CUB) had two penalties each when Lupetey threw Gotay for a yuko (quarter-point) score to take the lead. As the match wore down, though, Lupetey was given another penalty which, in turn, gave Gotay a lead by a waza-ari (half-point). Gotay controlled her final match against Yadinys Amaris (COL) who she double-legged for ippon."It's a relief; however, it's not over. I still have Trials. It's one more step closer, but there's still things to be done,"Gotay said of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Judo that will be held June 13-14 in Las Vegas, Nev. Gotay was honored by the Pan American Judo Union for her performance on Friday with the Outstanding Female Judoka Award which she also received at the 2006 Pan American Championships. Keith Morgan (CAN), a gold medalist in the 100kg division, received the Outstanding Male Judoka Award. Team USA also won the second place women's team trophy behind Cuba. Special award results are as follows: Best Judoka Keith Morgan (CAN) Valerie Gotay (USA) Ippon Trophy Eduardo Santos (BRA) Yanet Bermoy (CUB) Judo Spirit Albenis Rosales (VEN) Vanessa Zambotti (MEX) Men's Team Awards 1. Brazil 2. Cuba 3. Canada Women's Team Awards 1. Cuba 2. USA 3. Brazil Complete results are as follows: Men's 55kg 1. Hiram Cruz (PUR) 2. Julien Paradis (CAN) 3. Martin Bustamante (ARG) 3. Jeffryd Garcia (NCA) 5. Roberto Paz (ESA) 5. Carlos Tenesaca (ECU) Also Competed: Keith Beuvais (Thornton, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center), 0-2 Men's 60kg 1. Javier Guedez (VEN) 2. Miguel Albarracin (ARG) 3. Piker Yosmani (CUB) 3. Taraje Williams-Murray (Bronx, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) 5. Kenny Godoy (HON) 5. Jose Romero (ECU) Men's 66kg 1. Yordanis Arencibia (CUB) 2. Roberto Ibanez (ECU) 3. Sasha Mehmedovic (CAN) 3. Juan Jacinto (DOM) 5. Ronnie Talledo (PER) 5. Taylor Takata (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) Men's 73kg 1. Ludwig Ortiz (VEN) 2. Victor Penalber (BRA) 3. Ronald Girones (CUB) 3. Nicholas Tritton (CAN) 5. Josue Deprez (HAI) 5. Ryan Reser (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) Men's Open 1. Oscar Brayson (CUB) 2. Walter Santos (BRA) 3. Pablo Figueroa (PER) 3. Daniel McCormick (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) 5. Guillermo Del Rio (MEX) 5. Miguel Soto (VEN) Women's 44kg 1. Taylor Ibera (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri) 2. Shirley Guerrero (COL) Women's 48kg 1. Yanet Bermoy (CUB) 2. Daniela Polzin (BRA) 3. Paula Paretto (ARG) 3. Glenda Miranda (ECU) 5. Sayaka Matsumoto (El Cerrito, Calif. / NYAC / East Bay Judo Institute) 5. Isabel Latulippe (CAN) Women's 52kg 1. Erika Miranda (BRA) 2. Flor Velazquez (VEN) 3. Maria Garcia (DOM) 3. Aminata Sall (CAN) 5. Tatiana Lucumi (COL) 5. Yagnelys Mestre (CUB) Also Competed: Anna Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center), 0-2 Women's 57kg 1. Valerie Gotay (Harlingen, Texas / USA Judo National Training Site at Harlingen) 2. Yadinys Amaris (COL) 3. Yurisleidys Lupetey (CUB) 3. Ketleyn Quadros (BRA) 5. Diana Villavicencio (ECU) 5. Ange Jean Baptiste (HAI) Women's Open 1. Melissa Mojica (PUR) 2. Priscilla Marques (BRA) 3. Carmen Chala (ECU) 3. Mavi Mendoza (MEX) 5. Mindy Swanson (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri) For more information, contact Nicole Jomantas, USA Judo Director of Communications and Media Relations, at 719.271.9937 (cell) or Nicole.Jomantas@usajudo.us -END-
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