Canadian wrestlers aim for more Olympic berths at Pan American qualifier
Jasmine Mian, Danielle Lappage already earned right to be nominated
Sixteen of Canada's top wrestlers will compete for spots at the Rio Olympics at a Pan American qualifier in Frisco, Texas, starting Friday.
Canada is hopeful in adding more Olympic spots in addition to ones already secured by Jasmine Mian (48 kg) and Danielle Lappage (63 kg) in women's freestyle wrestling at trials in December.
"Having already qualified two, we are looking to dominate the women's wrestling classes at the Frisco event," Wrestling Canada executive director Tamara Medwidsky said. "With the field not yet including all international competitors, we expect to finish within the top two wrestlers for all weight classes to qualify a full women's team for the 2016 Olympics."
Mian and Lappage won their weight classes and earned the right to be nominated to the Olympic team at the December team trials event in Strathcona County, Alta.
Women's field features Yeats, Wiebe
The women's entries include 2015 Pan Am Games champion Dori Yeats, who competes in the 69-kilogram freestyle class, and Erica Wiebe, the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, who competes in the 73-kilogram class.
After a poor showing at the 2015 world championships, Yeats responded with a silver medal at the January test event in Rio (which was not a qualifying event.)
Worlds were "one of the best performances of my life," Yeats told CBC Sports. "When I went to the test event in Rio, I felt like a complete wrestler. And I felt, 'There's no reason why they could beat me here.' At the end of the day, we're both human, they had better results than me, but I could keep up."
Wiebe had two victories in 2015: the Yarygin Grand Prix and Klippan Lady Open. She believes the hard work she's put in to this point will serve her well in Rio.
"I am really excited to get out there and compete," Wiebe said. "My goal is to showcase what the long hours of preparation with my coaches has prepared me to do."
On the men's freestyle side, the entries include two-time Olympian Haislan Garcia (65 kg) of Vancouver, and 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Korey Jarvis (125 kg) of Guelph, Ont.
Canada will also have six Greco-Roman athletes battling to qualify in their weight classes for Rio.
Team Canada roster
- 53 kg — Jillian Gallays (St. Catharines, Ont.)
- 58 kg — Michelle Fazzari (St. Catharines, Ont.)
- 69 kg — Dorothy Yeats (Montreal)
- 75 kg — Erica Wiebe (Calgary)
- 57 kg — John Pineda (Vancouver)
- 65 kg — Haislan Garcia (Vancouver)
- 74 kg — Cleo Ncube (Montreal)
- 86 kg — Tamerlan Tagziev (Toronto)
- 97 kg — Arjun Gill (Vancouver)
- 125 kg — Korey Jarvis (Guelph, Ont.)
- 59 kg — Steven Takahashi (London, Ont.)
- 66 kg — John Yeats (Montreal)
- 75 kg — Shawn Daye-Finley (Fredericton, N.B.)
- 85 kg — Alex Brown-Theriault (Fredericton, NB..)
- 98 kg — Alex Thoms (Fredericton, N.B.)
- 130 kg — CJ Thoms (Fredericton, N.B.)
Pan Am Olympic Qualifier schedule
- Women's Freestyle Wrestling (48kg, 53kg, 58kg, 63kg, 69kg and 75kg)
- Men's Freestyle Wrestling (57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg, 125kg)
- Greco-Roman Wrestling (59kg, 66kg, 75kg, 85kg, 98kg, 130kg)
With files from Wrestling Canada