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Canadians narrowly miss podium at U23 Worlds

October 28, 2023

TIRANA, ALBANIA — Three Canadian women narrowly missed out on bronze medals at the 2023 U23 World Championships, Oct. 23-29 in Tirana, Albania. The St. Catherines, Ontario trio of Mia Friesen, Michaela Rankin and Vanessa Keefe all advanced to bronze medal matches but came up just short and had to settle for fifth.

For Friesen, she opened with a 9-4 win in the quarterfinal of the women’s 57kg weight class over Kazakhstan’s Shugyla Omirbek. She would fall 10-0 in the semifinal to Zhala Aliyeva of Azerbaijan. In the bronze medal match, Friesen faced Reena Reena of the UWW delegation, who took the win 8-2.

Rankin competed at 59kg and began with an 11-6 win over Puerto Rico’s Karoline Ortiz. Next, she bested American Nichole Moo Re 7-0. That sent her to the semifinal against Ukrainian Solomiia Vynnyk. Vynnyk would come out on top in that match 10-0. Rankin would then fall in the bronze medal match to Nikita Nikita of the UWW delegation.

Keefe opened the 68kg weight class with a 7-5 win over Varsha Varsha of the UWW delegation. She advanced to the quarterfinal where she defeated Gulnura Tashtanbekova of Kyrgyzstan 4-2. Keefe would drop the semifinal 10-0 to Independent Neutral Athlete Alina Shauchuk before losing in the bronze medal match 11-0 to Sweden’s Tindra Sjoeberg.

Women’s results

Other women’s results included: Stoney Creek, Ontario’s Serena Di Benedetto seventh at 53kg; Swift Current, Saskatchewan’s Aleah Nickel seventh at 62kg; Montreal’s Virginie Kaze Gascon ninth at 55kg; Ajax, Ontario’s Nyla Burgess ninth at 72kg; Edmonton’s Vianne Rouleau ninth at 76kg; Vineland, Ontario’s Samantha Adams 14th at 65kg; and Brampton, Ontario’s Kelyn Young 16th at 50kg.

Men’s results

The top finish on the men’s side belonged to Mississauga, Ontario’s Karanveer Mahil who was 12th at 125kg; Mississauga’s Patrik Leder was 16th at 74kg; Edmonton’s Aiden Stevenson was 17th at 97kg; St. Catharines’ Garrette Saunders was 17th at 61kg; Winnipeg’s Connor Church was 19th at 79kg; Montreal’s  Jason Luneau was 20th at 65kg; Winnipeg’s Sam Pereira was 20th at 92kg; Montreal’s Stone Lewis was 21st at 70kg; and Surrey, British Columbia’s Owen Martin was 21st at 86kg.

For complete tournament information, including brackets and match video archive visit the tournament website at: https://uww.org/event/u23-world-championships/results