The 2019 Pan-American Games has come to an end, and for the first time, Jamaica was represented in judo as well. It was Ebony DRYSDALE-DALEY who made this historical moment possible when qualified for the Continental Games with only two qualifying events.
Drysdale-Daley competed at her usual, -70 kg category, where she faced Leslie VILLARREAL (MEX) in the first round. A well-structured tactical win allowed the Jamaican judoka to progress to the quarter-final where she faced World silver medallist, Maria PEREZ (PUR). An unfortunate gripping error allowed Perez to take advantage and rolled Drysdale-Daley in with a left sided makikomi.
As the result of the quarter-final, Jamaica was set back to the repechage where old time rival, 2019 Dusseldorf Grand Slam bronze medallist, Ellen SANTANA (BRA) was waiting to take victory once again, since she defeated Drysdale-Daley in May this year. The table turned when the 24-year-old judoka strived with her left sided uchi-mata, leaving her Brazilian opponent exiting the tournament whilst she progressed towards the bronze medal contest.
The battle for the podium spot was against World bronze medallist, Onix CORTES ALDAMA (CUB). The clash went head to head with penalties given to both at first. With 15 seconds left to go, Drysdale-Daley received her third and final penalty for passivity and settled for a 5th place as the final outcome of her first ever Pan-American Games. Junior World silver medallist, Drysdale-Daley, reflects on her day following her medal contest:
“I didn’t feel worlds apart from the people I lost to, so that is a comfort to know my judo ability is there. I felt comfortable with my gripping and now I know it will be enough to win. I just need to link everything together to produce better structured fights in the future.”
She added: “Ultimately, I will always be so proud to have come to these games and been Jamaica’s first in Judo. I am very grateful for the continued support of the people that have worked to get me here. Our journey isn’t over.”
Follow Ebony Drysdale-Daley progress at her next event, which will be the World Judo Championships in Tokyo, Japan, in just under two weeks. You can watch all action live online for free via ippon.tv. Alternatively, follow all updates via our social media channels.
Photos: Confederacion Panamericana de Judo