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Canada claims 11 medals, including five gold at 2022 Pan-American Championships

May 11, 2022
2022 Pan Am Championships

ACAPULCO, MEXICO – It turned out to be a golden weekend for Canadian wrestlers as they took part in the 2022 Pan-American (Pan-Am) Championships in Acapulco, Mexico, May 5-8. In all, the Canadian team brought home 11 medals including five gold, four silver and two bronze.

Canadian women brought home seven of the medals including three gold, one silver and two bronze. Two of those golds came from the same family as sisters Karla and Ana Godinez Gonzalez, from Surrey, B.C., and Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club, had a weekend to remember.

Karla earned the first on day two of the competition in the 55kg weight class. Godinez Gonzalez went 2-0 in her round robin, earning a semifinal match with Nadia Trujillano of Peru. Godinez Gonzalez took the match 11-0 setting up a showdown with American Jacarra Winchester. The match was a nailbiter as it came right down to the end. With the two tied at five, Godinez Gonzalez scored a late takedown. The U.S. challenged but it was unsuccessful, and Godinez Gonzalez earned the win 8-5.

“I make a lot of sacrifices in my life to secure the success of my wrestling career. The gold medal shows that my hard work pays off and that I am well prepared to compete against tough opponents,” said Karla Godinez Gonzalez. “During the competition, I was focused, confident and ready to give it my all.”

The next day, Ana Godinez Gonzalez was in action at 62kg. The 2021 U23 world champion won her quarterfinal match 11-0 but was challenged in the semifinal by Lais Nunes of Brazil. Still, Godinez Gonzalez earned a 7-5 win. She picked up the gold by forfeit, due to an injury that forced American Kayla Miracle to withdraw.

“Ana also capturing gold made me even happier,” added Karla Godinez Gonzalez. “We were able to celebrate our success together. I enjoy competing by her side, it’s fun!”

Montreal’s Laurence Beauregard also earned gold at the competition. The Montreal WC product was in a three-woman round robin at 59kg and bested both her opponents. Her first win came by criteria 2-2 over Xochitl Mota Pettis (USA) and she followed it up with a 10-0 win over Ameyalli Jessel of Mexico.

At 65kg, Maple Ridge, B.C.’s Miki Rowbottom (Dinos WC) had a strong tournament that fell just shy of a gold. She was in a four-woman round robin and after winning her first two matches had a chance against the other unbeaten wrestler in the bracket, Forrest Molinari (USA). However, it was not to be as Molinari defeated Rowbottom, who took home silver.

Another silver went to Brantford, Ontario’s Madison Parks (London-Western WC) at 50kg. Parks’ tournament was filled with excitement as she won a pair of close matches to get to the final. However, she would drop the final to American Sarah Hildebrandt and take silver.

Toronto’s Alexandria Town won a bronze at 57kg. Town (York WC) scored a dominant quarter final win before losing by fall in the semifinal with the match tied 8-8. That did not deter her as the former U23 world champion came back with a strong 10-0 victory over Camila Amarilla of Argentina for the bronze medal.

Rounding out the medals for the women was Coquitlam, B.C.’s Justina Di Stasio (Burnaby Mountain WC). The four-time Pan Am champ was upset in the quarter final but had a chance to get a bronze through the repechage. In the bronze, she picked up a narrow 3-2 win over Colombia’s Tatiana Renteria.

Other women’s results included: Fredericton’s Samantha Stewart (Black Bears WC) fifth at 53kg and Regina’s Kayla Bednarcik (Cat-town WC) fifth at 68kg.

On the men’s side, the Canadians accomplished a first for the country, at the Pan Am Championships, winning two gold medals in the same year. Surrey’s Amar Dhesi and Calgary’s Emmanuel Olapade each earned top spot in their weight class to win the hardware.

Dhesi (Burnaby Mountain WC) cruised through the 125kg quarterfinal and semifinal round but matched up with a familiar foe in the final, American Nick Gwiazdowski, who beat Dhesi at the 2021 World Championship. History would not repeat this time. With the wrestlers tied at three and 10 seconds to go, Dhesi looked to earn two points for exposure. When nothing was awarded, his side challenged. It was successful and he picked up the win and gold medal 5-3.

“It felt great to win that one. It was a long time coming,” said Dhesi. “I’m glad I could compete well and get the win for Canada. My coaches and I talked after the World Championships, I knew I could produce good wrestling at practice and had to transition that to competition. I think I executed that well in this match. I felt a little sluggish in my first match but as the day went on, I felt better and everything came together by the finals.”

Olapade (Dinos WC) was in a round robin at 70kg. He scored three wins in the round and then advance to the final after winning a semifinal. He matched up with Vinicius Da Silva (BRA) in the final, who Olapade beat in the opening round 11-2. While it was closer, the result was the same with Olapade coming out on top 4-1.

Canadian men also picked up a pair of silvers coming from the Montreal WC duo of Sam Barmish and Jeremy Poirier.

Montreal’s Barmish earned his going 3-1 in his round robin at 79kg. The only wrestler he was unable to beat was 2021 world champion Jordan Burroughs (USA).

As for Poirier, from Saint-Louis, New Brunswick, he was also in a round robin at 92 kg and bested two of his three opponents, only losing to eventual gold winner J’den Cox (USA).

As for the rest of the men’s results, Surrey’s Darthe Capellan (Burnaby Mountain WC) was fifth at 57kg, Calgary’s Logan Sloan (Saskatoon WC) was fourth at 61kg, Mississauga, Ontario’s Jacob Torres (Burnaby Mountain WC) was fifth at 65kg, Abbotsford, B.C.’s Jasmit Phulka (Burnaby Mountain WC) was eighth at 74kg, Edmonton’s Taran Goring (Edmonton WC) was 11th at 86kg, Abbotsford’s Nishan Randhawa (Burnaby Mountain WC) was fifth at 97kg, Montreal’s Johnny Yeats (Tristar WC) was fifth in Greco-Roman 77kg, London’s Brayden Ambo (London-Western WC) was fifth at Greco-Roman 82kg and Saskatoon’s Jacob Phillips (Saskatoon WC) was 10th at Greco-Roman 130kg.

For complete information on the 2022 Senior Pan-American Championships visit: https://uww.org/event/pan-american-championships-14.