The tears of frustration shed by Brazilian judo team member Rafaela Silva, one of the favorites in the under-57kg class, upon being disqualified from competition were the image of the fateful day experienced Monday by Latin American athletes at the London Olympic Games.
After winning two medals on the first day and a silver secured by Cuba’s Yanet Bermoy on Sunday, the Latin American judo competitors on Monday had little to celebrate as all of their athletes were eliminated in the first or second round of the women’s under-57kg and men’s under-73km categories.
The most surprising elimination was that of the 20-year-old Silva.
After beating Germany’s Miryam Roper, the Brazilian went up against Hungary’s Hedvig Karakas, whom she clearly dominated for the entire match until the referees eliminated her - to her astonishment - for throwing her opponent using an illegal leg-grab.
In despair, Silva - the world runner-up - broke down on the mat and wept bitterly, remaining there for several minutes until, with the help of her trainer and looking shaken, she left the area.
A similar fate was suffered by Brazil’s Bruno Mendonca, who lost his second match to Dutch world No. 4 Dex Elmont on a penalty in extra time.
Colombia’s Yadinys Amaris, who lost to U.S. competitor Marti Malloy in just 40 seconds, and Costa Rica’s Osman Mutillo, who was beaten by Egypt’s Hussein Hafiz, could not get past the first round in their Olympic debut appearances.
Meanwhile, Cuba’s Yurileidys Lupetey was unable to repeat her 2004 performance, when she took home the bronze medal at the Athens Games, losing in the round of 16 to Russia’s Irina Zabludina.