Godinez Gonzalez leads Canada to two medals at U23 World Championships
Belgrade, SERBIA – Surrey, B.C.’s Ana Godinez Gonzalez is coming home a World Champion after taking the title at the U23 World Championships in the 62 kg weight category. She is joined by Cornwall, PEI’s Hannah Taylor, who won a bronze medal earlier in the day at 57 kg.
Building momentum from an 8th place finish at the 2021 Senior World Championships a few weeks ago in Oslo, Norway, Godinez Gonzalez made short work of her opponents, not allowing any points to be scored through yesterday’s qualification, quarterfinal and semifinal matches. She defeated Irina Kuznetzova of Kazakhstan with a score of 5-0 in the qualification round, followed by a 6-0 win against Russia’s Anastasiia Parokhina in the quarterfinals. She finished the day strong, dashing local hopes by beating Anna Fabian of Serbia by technical superiority 10-0.
In today’s final, Godinez Gonzalez had to regroup to face Kateryna Zelenykh, a tough opponent from Ukraine, who won silver at this year’s U23 European Championships and is a 2019 Junior World bronze medallist. Godinez Gonzalez started slow giving up the first points in the match. She pushed through to come from behind and take the match with a 10-7 victory and earn the World Champion title.
“I’m feeling good, but obviously I have lots to improve on. Most of the tournament I kept to my gameplan, but the final didn’t go as planned. I had to push through and figure out a way”, said Godinez Gonzalez. “This medal means a lot and reassures me that I’m going in the right direction.”
The medal is Godinez Gonzalez’s second at the World Championship level. She capture bronze at the 2019 Junior World Championships.
Taylor goes back-and-forth in the bronze medal match
Hannah Taylor is no stranger to this event, having won her first U23 World bronze medal in 2019.
She had a slow start to the tournament yesterday, losing by fall to eventual winner Alina Hrushyna Akobiia of Ukraine. She had to wait on Akobiia’s semifinal match to see if she would enter the repechage. “I wrestled terribly in my first match, and definitely underperformed”, said Taylor.
In today’s repechage, Taylor came back strong with a 12-1 win by technical superiority over India’s Nitika Nitika. Facing Othelie Hoeie of Norway, a 2021 U23 European Championship bronze medallist, the match went back and forth with Taylor coming out on top with a score of 12-8 take the bronze. “The final match was all over the place, and my coaches and I know it. I wrestled terribly, but I got the job done after battling some adversity the last couple of days”, said Taylor.
“It’s really exciting to bring home a medal for Canada”, added Taylor. “It’s been almost two years since I stepped on the mat and competed because of COVID. So it wasn’t ideal to come to the World Championships without any matches. It was also fun to note that I wrestled my first World Championships in Serbia in 2013 at the cadet age.”
For more on the U23 World Championships, visit the UWW tournament site here.