Wrestling

Canadian wrestler Erica Wiebe will grapple for gold

Canadian wrestler Erica Wiebe has earned a chance to grapple for gold in the ​women's freestyle 75-kilogram competition after defeating Vasilisa Marazaliuk of Belarus 3-0 Thursday in the semifinal.

Ontarian competes in the 75-kg final at 5:50 p.m ET

Canada's Erica Wiebe won Olympic gold in wrestling on Thursday in Rio. (Toru Hanai/Reuters)

By Kevin McAnena, CBC Sports

Canadian wrestler Erica Wiebe has earned a chance to grapple for gold in the ​women's freestyle 75-kilogram competition after defeating Vasilisa Marazaliuk of Belarus 3-0 Thursday in the semifinal.

The 27-year-old from Stittsville, Ont., is now guaranteed at least a silver medal when she faces Guzel Manyurova of Kazakhstan in the final (5:50 p.m. ET, CBC, cbc.ca/olympics).

She came out best in a cagey encounter, leading 1-0 at the end of the first period and then executing a take down earlier in the second to advance 3-0.

Wiebe, who didn't make Canada's team for last summer's Pan Am Games in Toronto, came from behind to defeat China's Fengliu Zhang 5-2 in the quarter-finals to advance to the semis.

Wiebe trailed Zhang 2-0 after the first round, but fought back to grab a 3-2 edge in the second before sealing it late.

Sporting lime green boots with pink trim, Wiebe pulled at the Maple Leaf on her singlet to approving cheers from Canadian fans in attendance at Carioca Arena 2 after the referee blew the final whistle.

"We made our own breaks," said national team coach Leigh Vierling. "I believe this kid can do it."

Day begins with win over German

A gold medallist at both the Commonwealth Games and the World University Championships in 2014, Wiebe started the day by beating Germany's Maria Selmaier 3-0 in the quarters.

In other action involving Canadians, Saskatoon's Jillian Gallays lost her qualification match to North Korea's Myong Suk Jong in the 53-kg category, while Danielle Lappage of Olds, Alta., withdrew because of injury early in her showdown with Ukraine's Yulia Tkach at the same stage of the 63-kilogram division.

Vierling said Lappage hurt her back in warmup and tried to battle through, but the visibly distraught 25-year-old only lasted 40 seconds before calling it quits.

"Things happen quickly," Vierling said in describing the injury. "I don't know if it was slippery ... she went to elevate her training partner and kind of slipped back and got caught in a really funny position — almost like a splits.

"Our medical crew tried to do a pit crew job on it, but her body's really angry right now."

Lappage — who also won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and World University Championships — still had a shot at a bronze by way of the repechage if she recovered in time, but Tkach lost her next bout, eliminating the Canadian.

"It tears my heart apart," said Vierling. "[Lappage] was just so ready to win this thing."

Gallays, 29, was also eliminated from contention in the repechage after Jong lost in the quarters.

With files from The Canadian Press

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