Canadian wrestlers win ten medals overall on the Gold Coast
GOLD COAST, Australia – Heading into the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Team Canada wrestling had captured more Commonwealth Games wrestling medals than any other country in the Commonwealth with 125 medals won since the inaugural Games in 1930. At the 2018 Games, Canada battled hard and added ten new medals to that total.
As the third day of the wrestling competition began, already Olympic Champion and now two-time Commonwealth Games Champion Erica Wiebe had won the 76 gold and Diana Weicker of St. Catharines, ON was the champion at 53 kg. Silver medals had been won by Olympian and 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion Danielle Lappage and Steven Takahashi (57 kg) and bronze medals had been won by Emily Schaefer (57 kg), Jevon Balfour (74 kg), Jordie Steen (97 kg).
With seven medals already won, the remaining team members were motivated to add to the total and earn hardware for themselves.
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In the women’s 62 kg Nordic round robin preliminaries, Olympian and 2017 World Bronze Medalist Michelle Fazzari (Hamilton, ON) needed to wrestle all in her weight-class and defeated Tayla Ford of NZ 14-4, Malik of India 11-8 and Berthe Emillene Etane Ngolle of Cameroon 6-0. In the 62 kg gold medal final Fazzari faced Aminat Adeniyi of Nigeria. The match was forceful and aggressive and the Nigerian ended up with a victory over Fazzari due to injury. Fazzari won silver.
“I’ve had better days, but I will make the most of this,” said Fazzari. “I wanted to finish that final, it was a match I was really looking forward to and was super excited for it but that didn’t happen. I will keep looking forward and positive thinking can do a lot.”
Jessica MacDonald (Windsor, ON), 2010 world bronze medalist and 2010 Commonwealth Games medalist quickly worked through her Nordic style round robin looking for gold. MacDonald superiorly won over opponents Rupinder Kaur of Australia 10-0 and Miesinnei Genesis of Nigeria 11-0. In her final match in the evening session MacDonald faced Vinesh Vinesh of India but lost 13-3 and had to settle for silver.
“I knew it was going to be a battle and I didn’t keep as disciplined as I should have,” said MacDonald. “She’s a good competitor as she’s number two in the world right now. I wrestled good and composed and I had fun out there and that is really what it is all about.”
Canada’s heavyweight, Olympian and 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion Korey Jarvis competed in the Men’s 125 kg round robin beating Claude Kouamen Mbianga of Cameroon 10-0, Sinivie Boltic of Nigeria by default but lost 6-4 to Sumit of India. Jarvis of Elliot Lake, ON faced Tayab Raza of Pakistan in his final of the round robin matches going for silver to match his silver won at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India. Jarvis was forceful and steady and handedly won the bronze 9-0.
“The match I lost I was flatfooted and not really getting my offence going, I was trying to stay in the match not take over the match,” said Jarvis. “I’m happy with the day because I got to wrestle all these great competitors but obviously I am not 100% happy with the result.”
Canada’s fourth entry of the day was Alex Moore (Montreal, QC) competing in the 86 kg. Moore beat Michael Gaitskill of South Africa in his 1/8 match 4-1 and in his quarter final Moore beat the Jamaican entry by technical superiority. Unfortunately, Pakistan wrestler Muhammad Inam beat Moore by pin in his semifinal forcing Moore to fight for a bronze in the final and the bronze escaped Moore when Somveer of India won 7-3.
All in all, the twelve-member team was proud of the efforts of the team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games including Diana Weicker the 2018 Commonwealth Games Champion at 53 kg.
“I couldn’t be happier to spend my first Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. It’s been so much fun both competing for Canada and cheering on the rest of my team,” said Weicker. “The weather has been beautiful, the village is always alive, it’s been such an uplifting environment since I arrived. I felt so proud and ready to go out and wrestle my best, not just for myself, but for my kids, my husband, my team and my country!”
The Wrestling Canada Lutte coaching staff and association were also proud of the efforts of the wrestling team and the 2018 experience and the number of medals being brought home to Canada.
“All in all, we are extremely proud of the effort of our team. We have high expectations for this program as we have a strong history of success at these games,” said Tonya Verbeek on behalf of the extremely accomplished group of coaches accompanying the team. “We look forward to building on our success here and translating the experience into world and Olympic medals.”
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