Judo Canada
Judo Canada

Ana Laura Portuondo Isasi


Ana Laura Portuondo Isasi’s journey to the Olympic Games has not been an easy one. Her most recent challenge was making a return to international competition in the fall of 2023 after six years of retirement. 

Portuondo Isasi had left competitive judo in 2017, not long after she debuted at the senior IJF World Championships, because she had suffered too many concussions. She went on to become a coach, but when her sister Adriana decided to return to judo in 2023, she was inspired to make her own comeback. She won gold in the women’s +78kg event at her first competition in November 2023, the Pan American Open in Montreal. 

In January 2024, Portuondo Isasi was victorious again, this time at the Canadian Elite Senior National Championships. In April 2024, she advanced to the +78kg final at the Pan American Championships in Rio de Janeiro but lost to the fifth-ranked woman in the world, Beatriz Souza of Brazil, to bring home the silver medal. Portuondo Isasi went on to compete at the IJF World Championships for the first time in seven years. 

Early in her career, Portuondo Isasi won 78kg bronze at the 2014 IJF Junior World Championships. But she then missed two years of competition after being declared ineligible because of a positive test in May 2015 for the prescription drug salbutamol, which she was taking as a lifelong asthmatic. At the time, testing standards did not account for an athlete’s level of dehydration, so what was a positive result in 2015 would not have been so under the standards implemented three years later. 

A Little More About Ana Laura

Getting into the Sport: Starting judo at age 8 because her father wanted her and her sister to know how to defend themselves… Her Olympic dream was born when Nicolas Gill visited her club to share his Olympic stories… Outside Interests: Studied criminology at the Université de Montréal and completed a certificate in cyber fraud at Polytechnique de Montréal in 2024… Works at Desjardins bank investigating fraud… Odds and Ends: Moved to Canada from Cuba when she was three years old… Has been coaching judo since 2018…

Notable International Results

Commonwealth Games: 2014 - BRONZE (78kg)

IJF World Championships: 2024 - R2(+78kg); 2017 - R2 (78kg) 

Pan American Championships: 2024 – SILVER (+78kg); 2015 – 7th (78kg)

IJF World Junior Championships: 2014 – BRONZE (78kg); 2013 – 5th (78kg)