Liana Mutia Wins Parapan Am Games Silver
by Nicole Jomantas
(Colorado Springs, CO) – Tokyo Paralympian Liana Mutia (Philadelphia, PA / El Idrissi Judo Academy) won her fourth medal of the year at a Paralympic qualifier on Sunday with her silver medal finish at the Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
The 25-year-old software analyst entered the 57 kg event coming off a season that included a bronze medal at the IBSA World Games last month as well as Grand Prix medals in Azerbaijan and Portugal this year.
After a bye into the quarter-finals, Mutia defeated Larissa Oliveira (BRA) by ippon (instant win) and advanced to the semifinals where she bested Laura Gonzalez (ARG) by ippon in a rematch of their 2022 Pan Am final where Mutia won gold.
While the other Paralympic qualifying tournaments are divided into categories for J1 (totally blind) and J2 (partially sighted) athletes, the Parapan Am Games include combined divisions. This meant Mutia would fight in the finals against three-time Paralympic Lucia Araujo (BRA) – the 2022 Pan American Champion in the J2 category.
“I like to do research so whenever I come here, I’m pretty relaxed,” Mutia said. “I knew she was left-handed. I knew her fighting style. I knew I had to do x, y, z to get specific results.”
The two remained evenly matched throughout the four-minute regulation, but Mutia made an attack that was countered in Golden Score (overtime) and Araujo threw her for ippon.
“It didn’t work out the way I wanted it to and I did get caught, but I’m very happy,” said Mutia who celebrated with Araujo after the match. “I’m always happy, in general. I feel like, even if I went out and lost, I would be not as happy, but still happy. I have a home to go back to. I have a desk job to go back to. I’m just happy to represent my country.”
Mutia credits her success on the mat and ability to balance her work as a software analyst with judo training to “lots and lots of meticulous organization.”
“I have to be very organized and very intentional with any sort of work I do whether it’s training or, in my case, studying for my career because I want to get a promotion,” she said. “And, of course, [having] a social life so I don’t get burned out and lose my mind. It’s a lot.”
Mutia’s teammate, Anthony Ferraro (Spring Lake, NJ / Liberty Bell Judo Club), also fought for a medal, but ended the day in fifth place after being hampered by an injury in the early rounds.
Ferraro opened with a win in the 73 kg category where he threw Luis Perez (PUR) in the second minute for a waza-ari (half-point) score. Ferraro injured his knee, however, and lost his quarter-final to Harlley Pereira (BRA) – a Tokyo Paralympian who moved down from 81 kg after the last quad and won two Grand Prix medals this season. Pereira went on to win gold, completing a sweep of four gold medals in four divisions by the Brazilians.
Ferraro fought through pain in the repechage to defeat Rodolfo Ramirez (ARG) and set up a bronze medal final against Jennys Garcia (CUB) who pinned Ferraro in the opening minute.
Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:
Men’s 60 kg
1. Thiego Marques (BRA)
2. Elielton Lira (BRA)
3. Bryan Aburto (MEX)
3. Henry Borges (URU)
5. Yonaldy Gonzalez (CUB)
5. David Gomez (ARG)
7. Ronald Hawthorne (Kansas City, KS / Welcome Mat Judo)
7. Justin Karn (CAN)
Men’s 73 kg
1. Harlley Pereira (BRA)
2. Eduardo Gauto (ARG)
3. Jennys Garcia (CUB)
3. Jose Romero (CUB)
5. Rayfran Mesquita (BRA)
5. Anthony Ferraro (Spring Lake, NJ / Liberty Bell Judo Club)
7. Luis Perez (PUR)
7. Antero Villalobos (PER)
Also Competed: Robert Kim (Chicago, IL), 0-1
Women’s 48 kg
1. Rosicleide Andrade (BRA)
2. Rocio Ledesma (ARG)
3. Giulia Pereira (BRA)
4. Katherine Yanez (CHI)
Women’s 57 kg
1. Lucia da Silva (BRA)
2. Liana Mutia (Philadelphia, PA / El Idrissi Judo Academy)
3. Paula Gomez (ARG)
3. Laura Gonzalez (ARG)
5. Larissa Oliveira (BRA)
5. Eslendy Lamadrid (COL)
7. Dainelis Calunga (CUB)
7. Christina Mowatt (CAN)