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Stewart loses in final seconds to end Tokyo bid

May 07, 2021

SOFIA, Bulgaria – Sam Stewart was seconds away from qualifying for her first Olympic Games but fell short when she was taken down with under five seconds to go.

Stewart led on criteria against Andreea Beatrice Ana 2-2, but a double leg takedown in the final seconds gave the Romanian a 4-2 victory.

“I think I wrestled really well all things considered,” said Stewart, who trains with the Blackbears Wrestling Club in Fredericton.

“It’s been really hard to train and prepare for this event with everything that’s happened. I definitely think I put my best foot forward.”

The winner of the semifinal qualified their country for the Tokyo at 53 kg.

The World Olympic Qualification Tournament is the last chance for athletes to secure Olympic quota spots for their country.

“This definitely isn’t my last kick at the can,” added Stewart, orginally from London, Ont. “I kept telling myself that this is just another tournament. This is a part of my story, but it doesn’t define me as a wrestler.”

Stewart began her day with a quick victory over Marina Rueda Flores of Spain. The 31-year-old scored 10 points quickly to end the match by technical superiority.

She picked up another win by technical superiority over Hilary Ysaline Honorine of France to advance to the semifinals.

Earlier in the day, Jessie MacDonald, Jessica Brouillette, and Linda Morais were unable to advance to their semifinals.

Morais picked up a win in her first match over 2016 Olympian Bediha Gun of Turkey but couldn’t get passed Norway’s Grace Bullen in the 57 kg quarterfinal.

Yesterday, Dillon Williams, Jasmit Phulka, and Alex Moore were unable to advance beyond the qualifying rounds in their freestyle events.

Tomorrow, Stewart will have a chance to wrestle for bronze. Four men will also compete for quota spot in Greco-Roman. Adam MacFadyen, Daniel Coles, Yiannis Narlidis and Thomas Barreiro will step on the mats in Bulgaria.

Team Canada has already secured four quota spots in wrestling. On the women’s side, the 76 kg and 68 kg were captured by Erica Wiebe and Danielle Lappage, while the men picked up the 125 kg and 97 kg spots courtesy of Amar Dhesi and Jordie Steen.

All four spots were secured at the Pan-American Olympic Qualification Tournament in Ottawa in March of 2020.

The event will be webcasted by United World Wrestling. Complete event information is available here.