Tuesday, July 27, 1999
wins karate gold
His win adds to the U.S. totalStaff and wire reports
at the Pan Am Games
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- George Kotaka of Honolulu, the current USA National Karate champion, defeated Alberto Espejo of Colombia at 65 kilograms to capture the gold medal in the men's kumite (sparring) division yesterday.
"It was really nerve-wrecking, but once we got out there, the jitters were gone and it was time to fight," Kotaka said.
"I initiated the attack and he (Espejo) countered it on the first point.
"But I knew that sooner or later, because there were three minutes, I could come back and get some points back."
Kotaka was one of three Americans to win gold in the men's kumite.
John Fonseca of Northbrook, Ill., beat Nelson Sardenberg of Brazil at 80 kilos. In 80-plus, Doug Selchan, North Huntingdon, Pa., defeated Altamiro Cruz of Brazil.
Other men's winners were Yusey Padron Hernandez of Cuba, over Dov Sternberg of Woodmere, N.Y., at 60 kilos; Anthony Boelbaai of the Netherlands Antilles at 70 kilos, and Ricardo Perez, Venezuela, at 75 kilos.
Beisy Quintana Matos of Cuba won the women's 53 kilograms kumite; Maria Wayow of Venezuela in the 60 kilos, and Lucelia Ribeiro, Brazil, in 60-plus.
Meanwhile, on a day that Morgan White and teammate Jennie Thompson restored some pride in U.S. women's gymnastics, the American baseball team squandered a four-run lead and lost to Canada, 7-6, in its controversy-spiced opener yesterday.
And there was more from Cuba, this time from the man at the top. President Fidel Castro accused Canada and the United States of dirty tricks aimed at harming Cuba during the games.
"We are competing in enemy territory," Castro declared during his annual Revolution Day speech in Havana.
The baseball fireworks were ignited by Ernie Whitt, the Canadian manager who was ejected in a rulings dispute with the umpires, then filed a protest that was rejected. The resulting 30-minute delay only served to inspire the Canadians, who trailed, 6-3, at that point, but rallied to win in 11 innings.
"The second he got ejected, he believed we were going to come back and win this game," said Canada's Andy Stewart, who had to admit, "that was an unusual way to do it."
White, 16, who has yet to outgrow her braces, is one of the youngest members of the entire U.S. delegation. She also rallied to capture gymnastics gold. She was third heading into the final rotation of the all-around competition, but put together a strong routine on the uneven bars that was enough to give her a .031 margin over Canada's Michelle Conway.
Thompson, second going into her last routine, held on for the bronze despite falling off the balance beam.
The loss to Canada didn't do much for the confidence of the U.S. baseball team, It seemed to have its game well in hand before Andy Stewart, who plays Double-A ball in the Phillies organization, hit a three-run homer off Scott Stewart to tie the score in the 11th.
Canada then loaded the bases on two walks and a hit-batter before Stubby Clapp hit a routine popup into short left field. Shortstop Travis Dawkins appeared to be under the ball, but left fielder Shawn Gilbert called him off.
Bad move. Gilbert couldn't get to the ball, it plopped to the grass and the winning run scored.
"It's hard to lose when you feel like you played hard all game long, you go up by three and have got two outs," U.S. manager Buddy Bell said. "You just pretty much figure things will work out the way you want them to."
Whitt erupted after walking to the mound in the top of the 11th to talk to pitcher Chad Ricketts, who had just surrendered a two-run homer to Jason Hardtke that gave Team USA a 6-3 lead.
Because Whitt talked to Ricketts the previous inning, the umpires said he exceeded the number of free trips allowed in a game and had to remove the pitcher. Whitt thought otherwise, a 20-minute discussion -- which eventually became an argument -- followed and Whitt got tossed. He promptly filed a protest, which international baseball officials turned down.
With the two gymnastics medals, coach Mary Lee Tracy felt much better leaving Winnipeg Arena than she did on Saturday, when the favored Americans finished second to Canada in the team race.
The United States leads the medals count with 63, including 24 gold. Cuba has 37, with 15 gold, and Canada has 35, with nine gold.
Castro's comments followed the defection of a Cuban athlete and a journalist at the games. He echoed criticism by Cuban athletic officials that the Canadian media were encouraging Cuban athletes to defect.
"We have never seen so many tricks, so much filth in the Pan American Games," Castro said.
PAN AM GAMES
(71 total medals)
G S B Tot United States 24 24 15 63 Cuba 15 11 11 37 Canada 9 9 17 35 Brazil 3 9 13 25 Mexico 5 3 9 17 Venezuela 3 4 5 12 Argentina 6 3 0 9 Colombia 1 4 1 6 Peru 0 2 3 5 Jamaica 1 0 3 4 Chile 1 0 2 3 Bahamas 1 0 1 2 Ecuador 0 0 2 2 Uruguay 0 0 2 2 Surinam 1 0 0 1 Netherlands Antilles 1 0 0 1 Cayman Islands 0 1 0 1 Dominican Republic 0 1 0 1
GOLD--Bernardo Segura, Mexico
SILVER--Daniel Garcia, Mexico
BRONZE--Jefferson Perez, Ecuador
GOLD--Graciela Mendoza, Mexico
SILVER--Rosario Sanchez, Mexico
BRONZE--Michelle Rohl, Black River Falls, Wis.
GOLD--United States (Lynda Alicki, Monroe, Ga. on Impressario; Debbie McDonald, Hailey, Idaho on Brentina; Donna Richardson, Escondido, Calif. On Jazzman; Betsy Rebar Sell, Akron, Ohio on Wonderful Walden)
SILVER--Colombia (Stephanie O'Mara; Cesar Parra Bauytista; Marco Bernal; Tatiana Londono Camargo)
BRONZE--Mexico (Antonio Rivera; Salvador Onate; Patrick Burssens; Bernadette Pujals)
GOLD--Morgan White, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
SILVER--Michelle Conway, Canada
BRONZE--Jennie Thompson, Cincinnati
GOLD--Yusey Padron Hernandez, Cuba
SILVER--Dov Sternberg, Woodmere, N.Y.
BRONZE--Sidirley Souza, Brazil and Eduardo Noguera, Venezuela
GOLD--George Kotaka, Honolulu
SILVER--Alberto Espejo, Colombia
BRONZE--William Preciado, Ecuador and Enrique Vilela Gay, Cuba
GOLD--Anthony Boelbaai, Netherlands Antilles
SILVER--Jaime Noguera, Venezuela,
BRONZE--Jean Carlos Pena, Venezuela and Celio Vieiro, Brazil
GOLD--Ricardo Perez, Venezuela
SILVER--Antonio Pinto, Brazil
BRONZE--Alonso Murayama, Mexico and Massimiliano Pagano, Brazil
GOLD--John Fonseca, Northbrook, Ill.
SILVER--Nelson Sardenberg, Brazil
BRONZE--Bravo Rodriquez, Cuba and Antonio Puente Torres, Mexico
GOLD--Doug Selchan, North Huntingdon, Pa.
SILVER--Altamiro Cruz, Brazil, shiro,
BRONZE--Manuel Costa, Uruguay and Yoel Diaz, Cuba
GOLD--Beisy Quintana Matos, Cuba
SILVER--Gladys Eusebio, Peru
BRONZE--Btissima Es-Sadiqi, Canada and Christina Muccini, Douglaston, N.Y.
GOLD--Maria Wayow, Venezuela
SILVER--Maria Maia, Brazil
BRONZE--Lisa Ling, Canada and Barbara Chinen, Sacramento, Calif.
GOLD--Lucelia Ribeiro, Brazil
SILVER--Katty Acevedo, Dominican Republic
BRONZE--Kimberly Morgan, Harleysville, Pa., and Cristina Madrid, Mexico.
MenLightweight Single Sculls
GOLD--William Belden, King of Prussia, Pa.
SILVER--Osmani Hernandez, Cuba
BRONZE--Javier Godoy, Chile
GOLD--Argentina (Damian Ordas, Walter Balunek)
SILVER--Brazil (Alexandre Soares, Gilbran Cunha)
BRONZE--Canada (Phil Graham, Kevin Whithe)
WomenLightweight Single Sculls
GOLD--Maria Julia Garosian, Argentina
SILVER--Tracy Duncan, Canada
BRONZE--Emma Obidinski, Oneonta, N.Y.
GOLD--Canada (Emma Robinson, Theresa Luke)
SILVER--United States (Karen Kraft, Newport, Wash.; Missi Ryan, Bloomington, Ind.)
BRONZE--Cuba (Maira Gonzalez, Odalis Martinez)
MenFree Rifle Prone
GOLD--Matthew Emmons, Browns Mills, N.J.
SILVER--Wayne Sorensen, Canada
BRONZE--Henry Gerow, Canada
GOLD--United States (Todd Sweeris, Rockville, Md.; Eric Owens, Flint, Mich.; David Zhuang, North Brunswick, N.J.)
SILVER--Argentina (Juan Frery, Liu Song, Pablo Tabachnik)
BRONZE--Canada (Xavier Therien, Pradeban Peter-Paul, Horatio Pintea) and Brazil (Hugo Hoyama, Thiago Monteiro, Carlos Kawai)
GOLD--United States (Gao Jun, Gaithersburg, Md.; Tawny Banh, Alhambra, Calif.; Amy Feng, Marietta, Ga.)
SILVER--Canada (Lijuan Geng, Chris Xu, Petra Cada)
BRONZE--Chile (Sofija Tepes Cancino, Berta Olate Rodriguez, Silvia Morel Messina) and Brazil (Lyanne Kosaka, Eugenia Ferreira, Ligia Silva)