Taekwondo: Dominican Republic and United States Lead the Way in Pan Am Tournament

The Dominican Republic and the United States were among 11 nations to win quotas after the 2016 Pan American Taekwondo Qualification Tournament. The two finalists from each weight class qualify their nation to the Olympics. Nations are only allowed to enter two athletes per gender, provided that they have not qualified any athletes beforehand. The Pan American Taekwondo Qualification Tournament was held in Aguascalientes, Mexico from March 10th to March 11th 2016.

The largest upset of the first day occurred in the women’s -49kg where Canadian Yvette Yong lost 9-7 to Dominican Republic’s Candelaria Marte in the quarterfinals. Marte wouldn’t grab the Olympic quota as she would subsequently lose to Aruba’s Monica Pimentel 2-1. Pimentel will be the first athlete from Aruba to compete in taekwondo at the Olympics. The second quota went to Peru’s Julissa Canseco whom defeated Puerto Rico’s Victoria Stambaugh 4-3 in the semi-final. The tournament was won by Conseco as she defeated Marte 2-1.

In contrast the women’s -57kg went relatively expected as top seeds Carolena Carstens of Panama and Doris Patino of Colombia won their respective semi-final matches. They were made to work for their qualification as Carstens narrowly defeated Venezuela’s Adriana Matinez 1-0 while Patino required a referee’s decision to defeat Cuba’s Yamicel Nunez after the two tied 2-2. In the final Carstens easily defeated Patino 10-0 to win the tournament.

The first quota for the men’s -80kg was won by three time Olympic medalist Steven Lopez of the United States whom defeated Cuba’s Jose Cobas 4-3. Defending Olympic champion Sebastian Crismanich will however, not get to defend his Olympic gold medal as he fell to Dominican Republic’s Moises Hernandez 2-1 in a stunning semi-final. Lopez won the final match against Hernandez 3-0 to win the event.

The final event of the first day was the men’s +80kg. Top seed Rafael Castillo of Cuba easily qualified to the Olympics with a 13-5 win over Carlos Rivas of Venezuela. Stephen Lambdin won United States their second quota of the day with a 2-1 win over Canada’s Marc-Andre Bergeron. Castillo won the event due to the withdrawal of Lambdin.

On the second day it was 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2015 Pan American gold medalist Paige McPherson whom won the first quota place of the women’s -67kg as she defeated Argentina’s Alexis Arnoldt 3-2. The second quota was won by Canada’s Melissa Pagnotta whom defeated Colombia’s Katherine Dumar 5-3. McPherson won the event 4-3.

In the women’s +67kg Puerto Rico easily grabbed the first quota with a 6-0 win over Honduras’ Keyla Avila. The second quota saw a bit of an upset as 2013 World Champion Glenhis Hernandez of Cuba lost to Katherine Rodriguez of the Dominican Republic 3-1. Rodriguez won the event 2-1.

There was an upset in the quarter-finals of the men’s -58kg where Argentina’s Lucas Guzman lost to Ecuador’s Leyner Congo 8-4. Congo would subsequently lose in the next round to Colombia’s Oscar Munoz, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist 12-6 whom grabbed the Olympic quota. The second quota went to Luisito Pie of the Dominican Republic whom defeated Costa Rica’s Heiner Oviedo 9-1. Pie defeated Munoz 3-0 to win the tournament.

The first quota in the men’s -68kg went to Venezuela’s Edgar Contreras whom defeated Canada’s Maxime Potvin 6-3. The second quota went to Chile’s Ignacio Morales whom defeated Colombia’s Miguel Trejos 12-9. Contreras won the tournament after a withdrawal by Morales.

This was the final qualification opportunity for Pan American nations. Only one more continental qualification tournament remains before almost the entire field for taekwondo is decided.


Quotas by Nations

  • Dominican Republic – 3
  • United States – 3
  • Colombia – 2
  • Aruba – 1
  • Canada – 1
  • Chile – 1
  • Cuba – 1
  • Panama – 1
  • Peru – 1
  • Puerto Rico – 1
  • Venezuela – 1




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