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Lappage, Di Stasio to wrestle for gold, Wiebe for bronze

October 23, 2018

BUDAPEST, Hungary – Danielle Lappage and Justina Di Stasio both have a chance to win Canada’s first World Championship gold medal in six years.

The Canadians each won their semifinal match to earn a chance to wrestle for gold and the title of world champion on Wednesday.

Lappage earned her finals spot first in the 65 kg weight class. The 28-year-old from Olds, Alta., defeated Iryna Petrovna Netreba of Azerbaijan by technical superiority 11-0.

“It’s indescribable, I’m so happy,” said Lappage. “I haven’t been this happy for a long time. I’ve been through so much, and I’m so proud that I’m in the finals. I’ve had a lot of injuries. Since 2014 I’ve been out with injuries. It feels good to come back and do it here.”

Lappage looked in control of all four of her matches on Tuesday. She defeated Mariia Kuznetsova of Russia, Mongolia’s Bolortuya Khurelkhuu and American Forrest Molinari by scores of 14-1, 10-0 and 6-2 to qualify for the semifinal.

“When I got here I felt excited and confident. That mental aspect is what I’ve been working on. Physically I’ve felt great, like one of the fittest ones out there. I’ve gone into every match with the same game plan, and that’s to keep my hands moving and keep them reacting instead of the opposite.”

Lappage will take on Petra Olli of Finland for gold.

Di Stasio defeated Egypt’s Samar Amer Ibrahim Hamza 6-0 in the 72 kg semifinal. She watched Lappage win the 65 kg match moments before she wrestled in her own.

“It’s crazy, it’s really cool,” said Di Stasio, of Vancouver. “I think we’re all really believing in ourselves. Dan just did it, she gave me all these tingles, I wanted to do it. I was crying when she won, but I had to focus.”

Di Stasio is competing in a weight class that is new to her, and therefore unfamiliar with her opponents, including Nasanburmaa Ochirbat, who she will wrestle for gold.

“It’s a whole new weight class, so I don’t know anyone. I’m just wrestling.”

For Erica Wiebe it was a difficult defeat to American Adeline Gray. Wiebe ran out of time and fell 3-1.

“It’s a tough loss. That’s how it goes when you don’t execute.”

Wiebe will have to move past the loss and focus on her bronze medal bout against the 76 kg repechage winner.

“I’ll go home tonight, refocus, think about what I want to do and get ready to go do it. Tomorrow I’m going to try to have more movement, get into her space more, and wrestle like I know I can and what I’ve trained for.”

There will be one more medal hopeful for Canada on Wednesday. Olivia Di Bacco of Orillia, Ont., will wrestle in the 68 kg repechage for a chance to compete in the bronze medal bout.

Finals matches will begin at noon ET on Wednesday, and will be webcasted by United World Wrestling.