Stewart wins bronze at World Championships
OSLO, NORWAY – Fredericton, New Brunswick’s Samantha Stewart is coming home with a special souvenir from the World Wrestling Championships in Oslo, Norway (Oct. 2-10). Stewart had a tremendous tournament and managed to capture a bronze medal in the women’s 53kg weight class.
“Winning a world medal is so special and it means a lot to me, especially after all of the obstacles this past year and a half,” said Stewart. “It’s been my goal for a very long time to stand on the podium at the World Championships, so to see that realized and have all the hard work pay off is truly amazing. It was difficult not accomplishing my goal of competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but I kept training, got back on the horse so-to-speak, and I think this really sets the tone for how I want to head into Paris 2024.”
Round of 16
The 31-year-old opened the tournament with a victory by fall over Russia’s Anzhelika Vetoshkina. Stewart dodged early attacks by the Russian and came close to turning them into points of her own. Stewart earned a takedown and exposure to make it 4-0 after the first period. In the second, she reversed an attack by Vetoshkina and extended the lead to 6-0. She then scored a big four-point takedown and turned it into a pin for the win.
The win advanced Stewart, who trains out of Black Bears Wrestling Club, to a match with Iulia Leorda of Moldova. Leorda picked up a pair of takedowns to get out to an early 4-1 lead. Then, she used Stewart’s own momentum against her for a four-point score. Stewart kept fighting, cut the lead to 8-2, and was still in it at the half. Leorda scored a takedown to make it 10-2, but Stewart showed lots of heart trying to get back in it. She scored a takedown and was close to adding to it on the ground. Despite the great effort from Stewart, she was defeated 10-4. That meant she was forced to wait on Leorda’s semifinal match to see if she would enter the repechage.
The semifinal match had an exciting finish, but Leorda earned a victory by fall with just 14 seconds remaining, sending her to the gold medal match and Stewart into the repechage.
In the repechage, Stewart squared off with Assylzat Sagymbay from Kazakhstan. Stewart got a single leg takedown to open the scoring. She added to it with another takedown and a great work on the mat, extending the lead to 8-0 before half. Stewart countered an early second period attack and turned it into two more points for a 10-0 win by technical superiority, giving her a chance at a bronze.
Bronze medal match
In the bronze medal match, she took on Khrystyna Bereza of Ukraine. Two minutes in, Stewart wrestled her to the mat for four points. She then continued to work on the ground and turned it into a fall to win the bronze medal.
“Throughout the entire tournament I was just really focused on being the best version of myself,” added Stewart. “I have an amazing support team who have helped me get here and I trusted all the preparation we did to be ready for this, so it was all about being in the moment and executing the game plan for each match.”
For more on the World Championships or to watch any matches from Stewart’s run to the bronze medal, visit the UWW tournament site here.