Cuba's first World Champion Estela Rodriguez dies of heart attack
Former judo star Estela Rodriguez, Cuba's first world judo champion, died of a heart attack on Sunday. Estela Rodríguez Villanueva was the 1989 World Champion who won three World Championships medals. She was Olympic finallist for Cuba in 1992 and 1996. Rodriguez captured the gold medal at the Tournoi de Paris in 1992. She passed away at the age of 54.
“Estela” as she was called by friends and admirers, stood out within a golden generation of Cuban judokas and she set a legendary record. For a long time she was in the ‘army’ of famous coach Ronaldo Veitia with lots of other successful women.
The two-time Olympic runner-up in the category +72kg kilograms in Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996 was also two-time gold medallist at the 1991 Pan-American Games in Havana. In fact her medals are countless. She was described as an essential figure in the history of Cuban judo.
Rodriguez, who was suffering from diabetes, will be an example for future generations of judokas.