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Canada Qualifies Entries in All Women’s Wrestling Weight Classes for Rio

March 05, 2016

(Frisco, USA) – Wrestling Canada Lutte’s women’s team has qualified all remaining weight classes at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier in Frisco, Texas and will be sending a full team of six to the Rio Olympics.

Adding to the 48KG and 63KG women’s freestyle spots that were already qualified at the 2015 World Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas, Olympic spots have been secured in Frisco at the 53KG, 58KG, 69KG and 75KG weight classes. Securing their weight class were 2014 World Bronze Medalist Jillian Gallays of Saskatoon at 53KG, Michelle Fazzari (St. Catharines, ON) at 58KG, 2015 Pan Am Games Champion Dorothy Yeats at 69KG (Montreal, QC) and Stittsville, Ontario’s 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion Erica Wiebe (75KG).

Heading into the qualification event in Frisco, Women’s National Coach Leigh Vierling had said that the Wrestling Canada Lutte results at the Frisco Pan American Championships just the weekend before, where Canadian wrestlers had won ten medals, had showed how strong the Canadian program is and that the team had prepared well and was excited to compete for their Rio Olympic qualifying spots in Texas.

“The athletes on this roster know how to compete at the highest level. As a team, we were excited to face this important challenge,” said Vierling. “Each one of our four remaining women’s Olympic hopefuls have overcome some kind of major setback in the preceding year. They all had their minds and hearts set on the task of wrestling to their full potential and winning in Texas.”

The women’s event in Frisco was full of great matches for the four Canadian entries with 4 gold medal performances. In the end it was 3 wins against USA, Ecuador and Venezuela for Gallays; 3 wins against USA, Venezuela and Brazil for Fazzari; 3 wins against Cuba, USA and Brazil for Yeats, and 4 wins in a round robin format against Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Mexico for Wiebe.

“At our December Team Trials event, we knew based on the battles on the mats that our Canadian depth of field was deep and that our top wrestlers were willing to give their all for the opportunity to represent their country at the 2016 Olympics,” said Wrestling Canada President Don Ryan. This qualifying event in Frisco has shown that our women’s team was ready for this challenge, and have earned every oportunity for our support.”

The women’s team will now shift their focus to final preparations for the 2016 Olympic wrestling competition in Rio. Canada won 2 medals at the 2012 Olympics in London, with 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Carol Huynh winning a bronze medal at 48KG and 2004 Olympic Silver and 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist Tonya Verbeek winning a silver medal at 55KG.

Canadian entries on the Road to Rio continue tomorrow and Sunday as the Frisco qualification event continues with the men’s Freestyle wrestling followed by Greco-Roman. Entries looking to qualify their weight class for Canada tomorrow include two-time Olympian and 2015 Pan Am Games Bronze Medalist Haislan Garcia (65KG) of Vancouver, BC, at 125KG, 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion and TO2015 Silver Medalist Korey Jarvis (Guelph, ON), 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion and TO2015 Silver Medalist Arjun Gill of Vancouver, BC at 97KG. At 57KG Vancouver wrestler John Pineda, Cleo Ncube of Montreal at 74KG and finally 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion and TO2015 Bronze Medalist Tamerlan Tagziev at 86 kg from Toronto.

Livestream will be available throughout the weekend at https://unitedworldwrestling.org/event/pan-american-og-qualifying-tournament.

Following the Frisco Pan Am qualification event, remaining qualification events include:

  • April 22-24, 2016 (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – top three male and top two females in each style and weight class qualify,
  • May 6-8, 2016 (Istanbul, Turkey) – top two in each style and weight class.

Photos of Michelle Fazzari, Jillian Gallays & Dorothy Yeats courtesy of Tony Rotundo/WrestlersAreWarriors.com
Photo of Erica Wiebe courtesy of
Eye58 Photography