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Wiebe unable to capture bronze in return to international wrestling

December 16, 2020

BELGRADE, Serbia – Erica Wiebe led in the final seconds of the bronze medal match at the Individual World Cup but wasn’t able to hold on.

The 2016 Olympic Champion fell 3-1 to Vasilisa Marzaliuk of Belarus.

“This is a totally new beast to contend with and I’ve taken the first step towards conquering it,” said Wiebe, who trains out of Calgary. “I didn’t do what I needed to but I’ll be a better wrestler when it matters most because of today.”

“I’m thankful for my coach Paul Ragusa and my teammate Tianna Kennett who joined me on the adventure. We’re far from done.”

On Tuesday, the 31-year-old defeated Kiran Kiran of India and Zsanett Nemeth of Hungary to advance to the 76 kg semifinals. There she met 2017 World Champion Yasemine Adar, who pinned Wiebe.

Amar Dhesi was the lone other Canadian competing at the tournament. The 25-year-old lost his opening match in the 125 kg bracket 11-8 to Aiaal Lazarev of Kyrgyzstan. Dhesi led 6-1 with two minutes remaining in the bout, but was unable to hold off a surge from Lazarev.

“The return to high level competition was key,” said Wrestling Canada Lutte High Performance Director Lúcás Ó’Ceallacháin. “We didn’t put any pressure on our team here, it was an opportunity to get important match experience and understand what wrestling looks like in the new normal.”

“Many countries here have had minimal disruption to their training environment and they seemed to perform best. Credit to our athletes and coaches for stepping up without optimum preparation. It shows their commitment to the program and their passion for the sport.”

“Now we need to finds ways to maximize our preparation.”

The World Cup was the first international wrestling tournament to take place since the Pan American Olympic Qualifier, which was held in Ottawa in March 2020. Both Wiebe and Dhesi secured spots at the Tokyo Olympic Games at the Qualifier, along with Canadian teammates Danielle Lappage and Jordie Steen.

Complete results from the Individual World Cup are available here.