Road To The Olympic Games

Summer Sports

Canadian Linda Morais rallies to win gold at world wrestling championships

Canada's Linda Morais rallied to win gold Thursday in the women's 59-kilogram division at the world wrestling championships.

26-year-old becomes Canada's 12th women's world title holder

Canada Linda Morais, left, seen above in the semifinals, won the women's 59-kilogram wrestling world championship on Thursday after coming back from a 6-1 deficit to pin her Russian opponent. (@WrestlingCanada/Twitter)

An early deficit nearly proved costly for Canadian wrestler Linda Morais at the world championships on Thursday. Some words of encouragement from her corner helped her reset on the way to winning a gold medal.

Russia's Liubov Ovcharova had jumped out to a 6-1 advantage when Morais' coach, David Zilberman, shouted out that it was OK and there was plenty of time left.

"That really calmed me down," Morais said. "I took a breath. There was six minutes in the match. I still had a lot of time. So I was staying focused on that. Just one point at a time."

The two-time world university champion from Tecumseh, Ont., picked the right moment to be aggressive, fighting back to get the pin and the 59-kilogram title.

"She went in for an attack and I felt that she was off balance," Morais said. "So I thought this was my chance to just go for it. I kind of threw her to her back and held her there."

WATCH | Linda Morais captures world wrestling championship gold:

The 26-year-old from Tecumseh, Ont., pinned Russia's Liubov Ovcharova to win the world championship gold medal in the women's 59-kilogram division. 3:28

Morais, 26, became Canada's 12th women's wrestling world champion. She won world bronze three years ago at 60 kilograms.

"It's given me confidence for sure leading up to [Tokyo in] 2020," she said. "You never really know if you're at this level until you reach it. I'm just going to feed off this win and go into those Olympic trials and have more confidence in myself and my abilities."

The 59-kg division is not an Olympic class. Morais has competed at 62 kg, an Olympic division, in the past. She could move up in weight for the Olympic trials in December.

A top-six finish at the world championships qualifies a quota spot for Canada in that weight class in the Olympics. An athlete who finishes in the top six gets a bye to the finals at the trials in December.

Morais credits her mental training for her success.

"I'm still working on it, but I find that that's the biggest challenge at this level," she said. "It's not so much the physical. We're all here, we all have great technique, all of my opponents are extremely strong and difficult.

"At the end of the day, it's really the mental [side] and who can stay focused on what needs to be done."

Broadcast Partners

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.