Only 2 Canadian women wrestlers will compete in Tokyo following tough loss for Stewart
Fredericton wrestler loses in final seconds to Romanian grappler
For the first time, only two women will be on Team Canada's wrestling team heading into the Olympic Games.
Canadian Samantha Stewart, competing in the 53-kilogram weight class, had a tough loss to Andreea Beatrice Ana of Romania in the semifinals at the World Olympic Qualifiers on Friday. The defeat means the wrestler won't be punching her ticket to Tokyo this year.
Taking place in Sofia, Bulgaria, the event is the last chance for wrestlers to earn quota spots ahead of the Games.
While Stewart was leading 2-2 by criteria toward the end of the match, the Romanian was able to take her down within the final seconds. Ana came out on top 4-2.
Stewart was coming off a quarter-final victory on Thursday, which saw the Canadian win 10-0 by technical superiority against France's Hilary Honorine.
Born in London, Ont. and now living in Fredericton, Stewart won the Canadian Wrestling Trials in December 2019, earning the right to represent the country in qualifying matches for the Olympics in the 53-kg class.
Erica Wiebe calls outcome heartbreaking
Four wrestlers have already been named to Team Canada.
Danielle Lappage, of Olds, Alta. has been named as competing in the women's 68 kg, while Erica Wiebe of Stittsville, On. will compete in the women's 76 kg.
Following the match, Wiebe posted a supportive message for Stewart on Twitter.
"Proud of her for fighting so hard throughout the last year and sticking to the process," she wrote.
A tough fought match until the very end. Sam loses a last minute takedown and her chance for Tokyo. <br><br>Proud of her for fighting so hard throughout the last year and sticking to the process. ❤️ <a href="https://t.co/OlwaTJJ7vv">https://t.co/OlwaTJJ7vv</a>—@ericawiebe
Wiebe also noted that it will be the first time since women's wrestling was introduced to the Olympics in 2004 that Wrestling Canada Lutte will not qualify a full women's team.
"My heart breaks for the women who have fought through so many challenges since March 2020. We will come back stronger," she wrote.
For the first time since the introduction of women’s wrestling in 2004, <a href="https://twitter.com/WrestlingCanada?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WrestlingCanada</a> will not qualify a full women’s team for the Olympic Games. <br><br>My heart breaks for the women who have fought through so many challenges since March 2020. <br>We will come back stronger💪🏻—@ericawiebe
On the men's side, Tokyo competitors include Jordan Steen of Tecumseh, Ont. (97 kg) and Amar Dhesi from Surrey, B.C. (125 kg.)
The World Olympic Qualifiers runs May 6 to May 9. More Canadians will have a chance to qualify on Saturday, May 8 in the men's Greco-Roman, including Adam MacFadyen, Daniel Coles, Yiannis Narlidis and Thomas Barreiro.
Also competing for the women in Bulgaria were Jessica MacDonald, Linda Morais, and Jessica Brouillette.
Alex Moore, Dillon Williams, and Jasmit Phulka were also at the qualifiers.