LIMA, Peru — A couple of years ago, judo in The Bahamas was limited to successes at invitational meets and a bit of recognition, regionally.
Then, the Commonwealth Youth Games was hosted by the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC). Young judo performers Mya Beneby and Karra Hanna won bronze medals to become our first podium representatives at that high-profiled youth competition, for the best of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Judo was thus elevated to a status few expected. The sport overnight came to be considered, largely, in the “core” group category.
At the time, Bahamas Judo Federation (BJF) President D’Arcy Rahming Sr. said the following: “Mya Beneby and Karra Hanna have won the first ever medals for The Bahamas at the Commonwealth Youth Games (in any sport). The competition was fierce with 17 countries. We can now declare that at the cadet level, Bahamas Judo is competitive at a world level.”
Rahming is in Lima, playing two roles. There is a judo team at the 18th Pan American Games (Sasha Ingraham and Cynthia Rahming), so he has presidential jurisdiction. He is also the chef de mission, and as such, is in charge of the entire delegation.
What is to be expected from the two judo ladies? Will they manage to enhance the reputation of Bahamas Judo?
Chef Rahming offered an update on the progress of the participants, and his insight.
“Cynthia has been training at international camps in Canada and at the international training center in Mexico. She is our best chance for a podium performance, as she has won against athletes of this level before. She has the experience to win and her best performance to date has been two fifth place finishes in continental tournaments. So, experience, the technical and physical ability, are there. The main challenge for her, in my assessment, is belief and desire.”
The under-57 kilogram (kg.) competitor, a veteran at 25, will be trying to equal or better the third place spot she ended up with at the 2017 Quebec Senior Judo Open and the fifth place spot at the Lima 2018 Pan American Cup.
The 19-year-old Ingraham is in the 78-plus kg. category. In May of this year, she finished fifth at the Copa Panamericano event in Panama.
“Sasha has been training for less than a year and has only two major tournaments under her belt. However, she has been training locally with Coach Oneysi and in Cuba with very excellent coaches. Her desire to win is strong and she has put in the work. Her division is less technical and physical, with fewer opponents, so fortune favors the bold and the brave,” said Rahming.
The Pan Am judo competitive schedule has Cynthia Rahming seeing action on Friday, August 9, at 3 p.m. Ingraham is to compete on Sunday, August 11 in a 9 a.m. match. They both are capable of going beyond their first matches.
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.