Crystal Weekes would climb to the podium with a victory at the start of taekwondo at the Pan American Games

Crystal Weekes would climb to the podium with a victory at the start of taekwondo at the Pan American Games

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Santiago, Chile – The taekwondo athlete from Puerto Rico, Crystal Weekes, took ‘bye’ in the first round of the Panamerican Games, which brings him just one victory closer to being on the podium, according to the national coach’s calculation.

The action of the Puerto Ricans will begin this Saturday morning with the individual ‘poomsae’ modality with the participation of Arelis Medina and Luis Gabriel Colonin addition to the combat modality in the 49 kilograms with Victoria Stambaugh; at 58 kilograms with Edrick Morales; and at 68 kilograms with Luis de Jesus.

Stambaugh will face Argentina’s Clara Sendra. Morales will challenge the Dominican Cristofer Reyes, while De Jesus will clash with David Paz, from Colombia. All matches correspond to the round of 16.

Poomsae and combats distribute medals this Saturday.

The national coach, David Montes, said that there can be medals, especially in combat, where four of the six athletes of the Puerto Rican taekwondo delegation are located, including Weekes.

The ‘bye’ puts Weekes one victory away from securing at least a bronze medal.

“We have six athletes, three men and three women, and we have an athlete who, due to her ranking position, has ‘bye’ in the first round, which is something super good because she would be one victory away from securing a bronze medal,” he said. Montes in reference to Weekes.

Weekes was a medalist in the last edition of the Games, Lima 2019, and also reached the podium at the Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador 2023.

Montes added that the other five athletes will have a longer path to medals compared to Weekes.

Montes said these athletes have to win two bouts in consecutive rounds to secure a medal.

Montes added that, if they lose in the first round, they would still have a chance to reach the medals through the repechage stages, as long as the rival who beat them continues to advance and drags them towards the medals.

“Of the four, there are three of them who have a very good key and I understand that they must be advancing to the second round. I think we have opportunities to get four athletes into the medal rounds,” Montes noted.

“For example, Victoria would be playing against Argentina in the first round and we understand that Victoria is superior to Argentina. In the second round she would face a Brazilian, who is among the best five in the world. If she loses, that Brazilian can drag us into the medal rounds for the repechage,” she explained.

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