News>Returning victorious: Airman brings home gold, bronze
Airman 1st Class Geanny Hernandez-Quiala, 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron, poses with the United States Flag to celebrate his victory in the Pan American Open Championships in July. Airman Hernandez-Quiala won the bronze medal in the free-fight competition in the 69 kilogram division. (U.S. Air Force photo courtesy photo/Released)
Airman 1st Class Geanny Hernandez-Quiala, 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and Sarah Stantone hold the United States flag as they celebrate their victory in the Pan American Open Championships in July. The two took the gold medal in the self-defense competition. (U.S. Air Force photo courtesy photo/Released)
by Airman 1st Class Matthew Hubby
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
8/18/2010 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- It's not very often an Airman gets to take time away from the normal work schedule to pursue personal passions, but when that passion is competing in a sport at world-class levels to bring honor back home to America, sometimes an Airman can get lucky and be granted the permission to go.
One such lucky individual is Airman 1st Class Geanny Hernandez-Quiala of the 436th Aerial Port Squadron, who returned to Dover Air Force base with both a gold and bronze medal from the Pan American Open Championships.
Airman Hernandez-Quiala earned bronze in his division for free-fight, where he weighed in at 69 kilograms. From there, he earned gold with Sarah Stantone in the team self-defense competition.
"After I won bronze in my division, I felt good," said Airman Hernandez-Quiala. "I felt happy to be able to represent my country. The games were held at high altitude, which made it a little tougher to fight. But I wanted to prove to the world that the U.S. is a good country in sports, so I toughed it out and won the gold."
Free fighting in Jujitsu revolves around striking, grappling and submissions, under rules to keep the competitors safe from injury. Many of the more dangerous techniques in Jujitsu, such as scissor takedowns, neck locks and digital choking and locking are usually not allowed in competition.
"Geanny has trained at the national headquarters and meeting with the national team in the fall," said Bruce Bethers, President of the United States Jujitsu Federation, the North American Jujitsu Union and Shihan-Ryu Institute of Martial Arts. "We are organizing for our trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, for the World Championships. I think he will represent the United States quite well; he has a leg up on some competitors as far as experience."
The United States has about 20,000 registered members in the Jujitsu International Federation, said Mr. Bethers. France, one of America's competitors in the upcoming World Championships, has about two million registered members.
"It will be an uphill battle for us, but I have a good feeling Geanny will place," said Mr. Bethers. "He's a great competitor and a good representation of the U.S. He's placed well at several championships, and is representing the United States Air Force and United States in a very honorable way."
8/19/2010 8:25:39 AM ET A1C Hernandez is one of a kind This story sounds unreal but this guy has some unique skills. How crazy is it for someone to be able to continue what they've been doing since they were like 7 into the world's best Air Force. He brings great credit to the US Air Force and the United States of America.