Young and upcoming talents dealt a huge blow to some of the pre-event favorites targeting maximum Olympics qualifying points in Guadalajara.
Olympic and seasoned world medallists couldn’t last long as they competed at the Centro Acuatico CODE Metropolitano, while some of the stars from the 2022 Grand Prix had their winning streaks broken in Mexico.
Mexico had one of their best-ever World Championships, winning three gold, and a total of six medals, their highest ever from one major global tournament.
Before the 2022 event, the South Americans had won only won four medals in 24 previous World Championships, including that of legendary Mexican fighter Maria Espinoza who lined up for the final time in Guadalajara.
The Olympic and world champion nicknamed the ‘Fist of Fury’ announced her retirement during the event aged 34 and will be pleased by the rise of the youngsters looking to emulate her success in the sport.
One of those is Leslie Soltero García, who thrilled the over 5,000 fans packed in the Centro Acuatico Code Metropolitano arena, clinching Mexico’s first gold in Guadalajara, in the women’s 67kg.
It was the career highlight for the 21-year-old, who won bronze at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games and is a two-time medallist in the Pan American Games.
Barely 24 hours later, the crowds roared again as Daniela Paola Souza Naranjo, who had edged out Olympic and world champion Panipak Wongpattanakit of Thailand, beat China’s Qing Guo, for the women’s 49kg title.
Naranjo, 23, was also the Championships Most Valuable Player (women).
Carlos Sansores delivered the third gold for Mexico in the men’s 87kg after holding off Spain’s top-ranked Ivan Garcia Martinez in the final.
The hosts topped the medal standings with three gold medals, a silver and two bronze medals ahead of the People’s Republic of China and South Korea.