Historic night for Canadian wrestlers at World Championships
BUDAPEST, Hungary – It was a night to remember for Canadian wrestlers at the 2018 World Championships. Justina Di Stasio won gold at 72 kg and became world champion, while Danielle Lappage captured silver at 65 kg and Erica Wiebe took home bronze at 76 kg.
In one night, the Canadian team tied the Canadian record for most medals captured at a single world championship.
Before the match began, Di Stasio had already secured her second straight world championship medal, having won 75kg bronze in 2017. The Canadian got the early lead in the final, scoring two points on a takedown within the first minute of action. That advantage held to the break. Thirty seconds into the second half of the match, Di Stasio got another takedown to put two more points on the board for a 4-0 lead. But her Mongolian opponent quickly cut the score in half, making it 4-2 with two minutes to go. Try as she might, Ochirbat could not get any closer as Di Stasio captured the gold medal.
“Me and (coach) Dave have been through a lot,” said Di Stasio. “Its just me and him for the girls side right now on the senior team so I rely on him a lot, I couldn’t do any of this without him. He is the brain, I just go out and listen, we stuck to his plan. Be offensive, try and push the pace; close the lead hand kind of stuff.
“She has a left leg lead and I have a right leg lead. So, I was just thinking about that all day, trying to figure out what we were going to do for it and we did it.”
Lappage, who competed in the 63kg weight class at Rio 2016 and won 68kg silver at the Commonwealth Games in April, got on the board first, building up a 3-0 lead. But Olli cut into that lead with a takedown to make it 3-2 at the break. When they resumed, the Finnish wrestler maintained her momentum, taking a 5-3 lead. Lappage was able to tie it at 5 and then, as the clock was running out, Lappage thought she got the takedown she needed to win the gold medal. But on a challenge, the officials reviewed the video and waved it off, giving Olli the 6-5 victory and sending Lappage home with the silver.
“I thought I won, I went from the most extreme happiness to the most extreme disappointment,” said Lappage. “I’m still confused I’ll have to go back and watch it but I don’t know.”
Wiebe, the reigning Olympic champion in the 75 kg category, had lost a tight semifinal to eventual world champion Adeline Gray of the United States to be placed in the bronze medal match. She came away with a 4-0 victory to earn her place on her first world championship podium.
.@ericawiebe captured Canada’s third medal of the night at the Senior World Championships!
— Wrestling Canada Lutte (@WrestlingCanada) October 24, 2018
“You know today, this tournament I was looking for a performance,” said Wiebe, of Stittsville, Ont. “I don’t think I executed the way I wanted to but it feels good. It’s my first time on the world stage since Rio and I keep trying to move forward and this is a good first step moving to the next quad.”
In just her second world championship appearance, Di Bacco had earned her way into the bronze medal match via the repechage. She found herself in an early deficit that she was unable to erase completely, dropping a 7-4 decision to finish fifth.
“I need to have more of a go get it attitude I think,” said Di Bacco, of Orillia, Ont. “I’m settling or not fully committing in some situations where I need to drive through.”
Thursday’s schedule includes medal matches in four more women’s weight classes. Diana Weicker will compete for 53 kg bronze while Alexandria Town is in the 57 kg repechage to try to win her way to a medal match.
Excerpts of this story from olympic.ca