Boxer Lozada is first Puerto Rican woman to qualify for Paris Olympics
By The Star Staff
Boxer Ashleyann Lozada became the first woman from Puerto Rico to qualify for the Olympic Games earlier this week by reaching the semifinals of the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
“I really feel proud and grateful to God,” Lozada said after her victory in the ring Wednesday. “Without him this is not possible.”
The boxer outpointed Canadian Marie-bathoul Al-Ahmadieh, 5-0 in the quarterfinals. Lozada joins other Puerto Ricans such as Kiria Tapia and Mónica González, who won boxing medals in previous editions of the Pan American Games.
“I thank God for making history,” Lozada added with emotion. “Not only in the Pan American Games, because this is also historic here.”
Qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games is granted by a special commission of the International Olympic Committee at the Pan American Games.
“I dreamed this with my mother who must be crying right now. I don’t pretend to be the only one; here comes Stephanie Piñeiro who has two more events to qualify,” she commented about her friend Piñeiro, who suffered a health mishap.
Lozada has also stood out in the Central American and Caribbean Games as the first Puerto Rican athlete to repeat the gold medal in two consecutive editions.
Regarding her technique in the ring, Lozada said: “Before entering the ring I asked for wisdom.”
“On a technical level I made her [Al-Ahmadieh] feel outclassed, for the simple fact that I went in there with a lot of wisdom,” she said
Lozada’s next bout will be for the gold medal against Colombian Valeria Arboleda Mendoza, who also qualified for Paris 2024. Women’s boxing was incorporated into the Olympic program in London in 2012.
Romano finishes 4th in 200 medley
Kristen Romano finished in fourth place in the 200-meter medley swimming competition on Wednesday.
“I am very proud of my performance today,” said Romano, who was scheduled to return home on Thursday. “This was my last event in my first Pan American.”
Canadian Sydney Pickrem won the event with a Pan American Games record time of 2 minutes, 09.04 seconds. The silver and bronze medals were won by Canada’s Mary-Sophie Harvey and American Helen Noble, respectively.
Romano also participated in two additional events in Santiago, also finishing fourth in the 200-meter backstroke and 400-meter medley. She also stood out at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador, El Salvador, where she won three gold medals and one bronze.
In the 200-meter medley preliminaries in Santiago, Romano won her heat with a time of 2:15.98, and in the finals she recorded a time of 2:15.18.
Meanwhile, swimmer Jarod Arroyo was withdrawn from the 200-meter medley preliminary due to problems with a knee.