Wrestling Medal Haul at TO2015
(Toronto, ON) – With the Greco-Roman portion of the competition complete, and a fresh new gold medal having been awarded the day before, Canadian coaches and wrestlers felt confident going into today’s competition schedule featuring three women’s entries and one in men’s freestyle. With two gold, a silver and a bronze won in the end, the team’s confidence paid off.
To set the stage in the preliminaries, Montreal’s Dorothy Yeats (69KG) confidently beat Cuba’s Yudari Sanchez to move into a semi-final bout. After the semi-final against Luz Vazquez of Argentina, the 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion, the bout was again impressively won with a score of 14-3. Following the battle Yeats talked about preparing for the gold medal bout.
“I scouted the two girls out in my first two matches and I had a tough draw, but I managed to stay on the game plan and I did well, so tonight should be a lot of fun,” said Yeats.
In the 69KG final, Yeats met Maria Acosta of Venezuela where the opponent gained the first points. Yeats was strategic and careful to use her opponent’s own moves against her with counter attacks. In the end, Yeats won the bout 13-2. Gold!
In post bout interviews, Yeats was thrilled and talked about her preparation that paid off.
“Definitely a lot of it is muscle memory,” said Yeats. “That’s what I’m doing day in and day out at the gym, is those different situations and how to deal with them, and what to do with body positioning. It was the outcome I wanted.”
For Women’s Freestyle 63KG Pickering Ontario’s Braxton Stone-Papadopoulos was impressive and won over Jessica Olivares of Peru 10-0. For her semi-final, Stone-Papadopoulos wrestled Jackeline Renteria of Columbia matching her for points by the last few seconds and then pushing the Columbia from the ring to gain the last point needed and winning 6-5. The Team Impact wrestler acknowledged how close it came to the wire and her patience.
“It was a crazy match,” said Stone-Papadopoulos. “I wrestled her before and had a great match so I was happy to meet her again, especially in front of family and friends.”
Between her and a gold medal, Stone-Papadopoulos needed to beat the 2011 Pan Am Gold Medalist; Katerina Vidiaux of Cuba. The Cuban was a strong competitor who managed to have the advantage a couple times but was no match for Stone-Papadopoulos who drew strength from the crowd, never let her goal of gold escape her and won 7-3. Gold!
“It’s amazing, you know. The last time I was at the Senior Pan Ams I came third and so me being able to be here finally with all my hard work, sacrifices and dedication have paid off. It was so exciting,” said Stone-Papadopoulos.
The preliminaries garnered positive results again as Justina Di Stasio (75KG) met Jarimit Weffer Guanipe of Venezuela. The Coquitlam, BC native won the quarter final match 5-3 and went on to win her semi-final bout against Lisset Hechavarria of Cuba. She was now into the gold medal final.
“I didn’t get to see all the bouts, but I knew they had won, so I wanted to win as well,” said Di Stasio.
In the Women’s 75KG gold medal final Di Stasio met Adeline Gray of the USA. It was a match that went to the wire with great intensity and hard fought by both strong women. In the end, Di Stasio lost by one point 7-6. Silver.
“We had a game plan coming in and it was matched elevation. Keep my hands moving to be the first one to her, to close the gap and I was trying to do that the whole time,” said Di Stasio. “I gave it everything I had.”
On the men’s side, Olympian Haislan Garcia beat El Salvador wrestler Portillo 8-0 but lost his semi-final match to Franklin Maren of Cuba 2-0. He would have to fight for a bronze medal against Hernan Guzman of Columbia. Fighting back from the former bout’s disappointment, Garcia looked strong as he won the bronze medal match 2-0.
Coming up on July 18, 2016 from Mississauga, the following disciplines, categories and Canadian wrestlers will be going for more medals:
Men’s Freestyle 74KG: Jevon Balfour (Brampton, ON)
Men’s Freestyle 86KG: Tamerlan Tagziev (Toronto, ON)
Men’s Freestyle 97KG: Arjun Gill (Surrey, BC)
Men’s Freestyle 125KG: Korey Jarvis (Elliot Lake, ON)