Canada claim four Rio 2016 wrestling berths on golden day at Pan American qualifier in Texas

 

Canada ensured qualification for all six women’s freestyle wrestling weight classes at Rio 2016 after winning four gold medals at the Pan American Olympic Games qualifier in Frisco, Texas today.

The powerful Dori Yeats, the 2012 world silver medallist, rolled to a quick 10-0 technical fall over Brazil’s Gilda De Oliveira in the 69 kilogram final, while Michelle Fazzari won by fall over Joice Souza Da Silva, also of Brazil, in the 58kg showdown at the Dr. Pepper Arena. 

Jillian Gallays, the 2014 world bronze medallist, won by medical forfeit over Venezuela’s Betzabeth Arguello Villegas in the 53kg final and Erica Wiebe, who has previously been ranked number one in the world, had a 4-0 winning record in the 75kg round-robin format to finish ahead of Venezuela’s Jaramit Weffer Guanipa. 

The top two finishers in each of the 18 Olympic weight classes in Frisco, six weight classes in each style, will qualify their nations to compete at this year’s Olympic Games.

Olympic hosts Brazil thus qualified three more athletes thanks to the efforts of beaten finalists De Oliveira and Da Silva and Lais Nunes De Oliveira, who lost by medical forfeit to the United States’ Erin Clodgo in the 63kg showdown. 

Clodgo was the only member of the US women’s squad to land an Olympic berth among the five wrestlers represented at the qualifier.

It means American women have qualified in just two of six weight classes for Rio.

Three-time world champion Adeline Gray qualified the US for the Olympics at 75kg after striking gold at the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas.

In today’s other final, Colombia’s Carolina Castillo Hidalgo won the 48kg title by medical forfeit over Argentina’s Patricia Bermudez as both wrestlers qualified their countries for the Olympics by virtue of their semi-final victories.

Pan American countries earned six Olympic berths in women’s freestyle during the 2015 World Championships. 

Canada qualified for the Olympics in two weight classes, the 48kg and 63kg, as did Colombia in the 58kg and 75kg. 

The US and Brazil each landed one Olympic berth, both in the 75kg.

There will be six Olympic weight classes for women for the first time this year, two more than there was at the first three Olympic competitions in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

The Pan American Olympic Games qualifier is due to continue tomorrow with the men’s freestyle competition.

The Greco-Roman tournament is set for Sunday (March 6).

For those who don’t qualify in Frisco, there will be Olympic qualifiers held in Mongolia in April and in Turkey in May.

 

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