Granma y Cerro Pelado

Cuba Women Take Six Cerro Pelado Golds

By Richard Immel

HAVANA, Cuba – The Cuban women were tenacious throughout the Granma y Cerro Pelado, winning six of the possible eight gold medals up for grabs at the Coliseo de la Ciudad Deportiva on Tuesday.

With all eight weight categories being bracketed in round-robin format, today’s session was not a traditional final, but rather the last round of matches in each weight class.

The most credentialed competitor in the field, Yudari SANCHEZ (CUB), received a medical forfeit in her final match to clinch the 68 KG gold medal. Sanchez, a junior world silver medalist and U23 world bronze medalist, finished with a perfect 4-0 record for the tournament, with none of her matches going to the full six minutes.

Six-time Pan American medalist Yakelin ESTORNELL (CUB) rebounded from a day one loss to upend undefeated Hangelen LLANES (CUB) 8-4 this afternoon. The win catapulted Estornell to the 62 kg gold medal. It is her second international medal of the young 2018 calendar year, going alongside her previously earned Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix bronze.

Returning Cerro Pelado bronze medalist Leanne MENDOZA (CUB) won a gritty 2-1 match over Yusneylys GUZMAN (CUB), a past junior Pan American champion, for the 50 KG gold. In similar fashion, last year’s Cerro Pelado silver medalist Milaimys MARIN (CUB) earned the 76 KG gold with a win 3-0 over 2017 junior Pan American champion Mabelkis CAPOTE (CUB).

Dayselis RODRIGUEZ (CUB) was a revelation this week as she took down the 59 KG field with impressive victories. Rodriguez cemented her place atop the podium with a gutsy 4-3 win over London Olympian and two-time Pan American champion Kelsey CAMPBELL (USA).

The final champion from the host nation came at 55 KG. Laura HERIN (CUB) fought tooth-and-nail with teammate Yayneli SANZ (CUB) and came out on top in a 3-1 contest. Herin and Sanz were the only two women entered at the weight class.

Rio Olympics fifth-place finisher Betzabeth Angelica ARGUELLO VILLEGAS (VEN) and 2016 Pan American bronze medalist Alejandra ROMERO (MEX) were the only non-Cuban women to win gold at the Granma y Cerro Pelado.

Arguello Villegas, a three-time Pan American bronze medalist, dominated Amanda HERNANDEZ (CUB) 11-1 for her final victory of the tournament at 53 KG.

Romero, who did not compete today, wound up deadlocked with Maria FERNANDA (CUB) and junior world silver medalist Lianna MONTERO (CUB) at 3-1 overall within the 57 KG bracket. Romero was awarded the gold based on classification criteria.

The Granma y Cerro Pelado resumes on Wednesday with the first day of men’s freestyle competition at 10 a.m. local time. Complete results and a live stream of all the action can be found at


50 KG

Gold – Leanna MENDOZA (CUB)

Silver – Yusneylys GUZMAN (CUB)

Bronze – Lisa ERSEL (GER)

53 KG

Gold – Betzabeth Angelica ARGELLO VILLEGAS (VEN)

Silver – Amanda HERNANEZ (CUB)

Bronze – Lilianet DUANE (CUB)

55 KG

Gold – Laura HERIN (CUB)

Silver – Yayneli SANZ (CUB)

57 KG

Gold – Alejandra ROMERO (MEX)

Silver – Maria FERNANDA (CUB)

Bronze – Lianna MONTERO (CUB)

59 KG

Gold – Dayselis RODRIGUEZ (CUB)

Silver – Kelsey CAMPBELL (USA)

Bronze – Rachelis CARON (CUB)

62 KG

Gold – Yakelin ESTORNELL (CUB)

Silver – Hangelen LLANES (CUB)

Bronze – Guadalupe GARCIA (MEX)

68 KG

Gold – Yudari SANCEZ (CUB)

Silver – Soleimy CORABALLO (VEN)

Bronze – Yariannys MARIN (CUB)

76 KG

Gold – Milaimys MARIN (CUB)

Silver – Susana MARTINEZ (CUB)

Bronze – Mabelkis CAPOTE (CUB)