Oropesa made the best decision by returning to the game. He proved it today in the city, the scene of the XIX Pan American Games, by becoming the first Cuban medalist in badminton in these competitions.
The Holguin native got a bronze dam that could change color if he passes the semifinals this Tuesday. However, what has been done so far is worth a bow.
Every victory is an important step, but no one is happier than this Monday against the Mexican Haramara Gaitán, who took the title from him at the XXIV Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador in 2023.
Revenge came as the certainty he was looking for when he left the sport. He even considered the possibility of never coming back. It started with a favorable set 21-14, but soon the match became complicated by the reaction of Gaitán, an Olympian in Tokyo 2020, and able to balance the fight by winning 21-18 in the second set.
What happened next forced the Cuban to show all his skills and talents. He did it without despair, point by point, even when he was two points behind. The decisive battle went beyond the limits, but ended in favor of Taymara 24-22.
“I lost the thorn that I had,” he first stated in the dialogue in which he admitted to spending hours analyzing videos of his bitter rival and re-reading notes made about past confrontations.
“That helped me a lot, especially to impose my game in the most complicated moments of the third set,” he said before also mentioning the support of the entire team and Zoila Betanco, a psychologist he worked with from a distance.
Ahead of Monday’s match, Taymara made another remarkable performance that opened the doors to the quarterfinals, by eliminating Canadian Wen Yun Zhang, the second-best ranked in the competition.
With almost no relaxation, she will face Jennie Gay, a 22-year-old American, backed by her title at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, in the semi-finals this Tuesday.