PATU Press – Emerging talents and new taekwondo figures are emerging from the Pan-Am Series, an innovative alternative that allows athletes from the Pan-American region to score vital points on their way to Olympic qualification.
In Heredia, Costa Rica, seven young athletes of great projection materialized with resounding victories in Kyorugui Senior their Wild Cards to the Pan American Championship 2024, but beyond that, their conquests made them visible on the map of the tactical technical study of the most experienced of the circuit that will have a new stop in just a few days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, venue of the Pan-Am Series II (March 24-27).
Cristofer Reyes Pie (-54kg)
Dominican Cristofer Reyes Pie, champion of the -54kg, reiterated that taekwondo for him is a matter of family, as he follows in the footsteps of his brothers Luisito and Bernardo, the former an Olympic medalist in Rio 2016 (bronze) and the latter a multi Pan American champion and Olympic athlete in Tokyo 2020, in addition to being proclaimed MVP of the Pan-Am Series I Costa Rica 2023.
Reyes Pie advanced in his bracket to defeat in the final one of the most notable Brazilian rising athletes of the last year: Aubin De Giovanny, winner of the Peru, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Costa Rica open in 2022.
Henrique Marques (-80kg)
At just 19 years of age, Henrique Marques (BRA) is consolidating himself as one of the stars of Pan American taekwondo of the new times: versatile, agile, strong, fast. This young competitor triumphed in the -80kg Pan-Am Series with a three-round victory over Tokyo 2020 Olympian Moises Hernandez of the Dominican Republic.
Marques, who has just lost in the quarterfinals of the Guadalajara 2022 World Championship to the champion, Park Woo-Hyeok of Korea, has three Pan American medals, the last one in the 2022 edition of the continental tournament held in Punta Cana (Bronze), and he is also the current South American youth champion in Rosario, Argentina. In his nascent career he has already faced rivals such as CJ Nickolas (USA) and Miguel Trejos (COL), among others.
Camila Llauca PER (-46kg)
In her second year in the senior category, Peruvian Camila Llauca managed to crown her first major title: gold in the -46kg of the Pan-Am Series I 2023, a result that makes her visible on the map of the division in the continent and ratifies her regularity on the podium since the junior category, where she harvested five international medals between 2017 and 2019, including a Pan American bronze in Portland.
Marlyn Pérez CUB (-53kg)
The highlight of the Cuban delegation was the triumph of Marlyn Perez in the -53kg, who defeated Mexico’s Jazmin Chavez in the final of the event in two rounds. Before that, the Antillean defeated gold favorite Fabiola Villegas (MEX), number three in the world ranking, and in the semifinals she dominated Dominican Mayerlin Mejia.
Maria Clara Pacheco BRA (-57kg)
From this precocious list Maria Clara Pacheco (BRA) is the only two-time Pan-Am Series champion, as she dominated the -57kg in the third circuit in Sao Paulo 2022 and won the first stop held in Costa Rica this 2023. Pacheco is a cadet world medalist (bronze in Sharm El Sheik 2017) and was champion of the President’s Cup of America and Pan American in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In 2022 she took top honors and the MVP Award in the senior -57kg division of the Chile Open.
Itzel Velasquez MEX (-62kg)
She comes from being fifth in the -62kg at the Guadalajara 2022 World Championships and starts 2023 with an absolute victory at the Pan-Am Series I over one of the top athletes in the field: two-time Olympian (London 2012 and Rio 2016) Carolena Cartens (PAN).
Ava Soon Lee HAI (-73kg)
Ava Soon Lee (HAI) triumphed again in Costa Rica: in 2022 she crowned in the Palacio de Los Deportes her first Pan American junior title (-68kg) and this 2023 she started with the right foot her path in the senior category by winning the gold medal in the -73kg of the Pan-Am Series I. Last year, in her foray into the international scene, Ava Soon Lee was champion of the Fujairah, Rio, Poland and Slovenia Opens. She also reached the round of 16 at the World Junior Championships in Sofia.
New figures are becoming established and the Pan-Am Series is the best stage…