Canada Women Cap Amazing Day with 4 Golds at Pan Am Qualifier

By Craig Sesker

FRISCO, Texas (March 4) – Canada put an exclamation point on a banner day of wrestling by capturing four women’s freestyle gold medals at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier on Friday.

Canada won titles in all four weight classes it entered and the traditional women’s power has now qualified all six women’s wrestling weight classes for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Canada’s Jillian GALLAYS (53kg), Michelle FAZZARI (58kg), Dori YEATS (69kg) and Erica WIEBE (75kg) each struck gold as the three-day event kicked off in suburban Dallas.

Olympic host country Brazil also had a huge day, qualifying three more athletes for August’s Olympic Games in Brazil. The top two finishers in each of the six women’s weight classes clinched spots Friday to advance to Rio.

The top two finishers in each of the 18 Olympic weight classes in Texas, six weight classes in each style, will qualify their nations to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games.

The powerful Yeats, a past World silver medalist, rolled to a quick 10-0 technical fall over Gilda DE OLIVEIRA (BRA) in the finals, while Fazzari won by fall over Joice SOUZA DA SILVA (BRA) in the finals.

Gallays, a past World bronze medalist, won by medical forfeit over Betzabeth ARGUELLO VILLEGAS (VEN) in the finals and Wiebe, who has been ranked No. 1 in the World, went 4-0 in the round-robin format at heavyweight.

American Erin CLODGO won by medical forfeit over Lais NUNES DE OLIVEIRA (BRA) in the finals at 63 kg.

Carolina CASTILLO HIDALGO (COL) won the 48kg title by medical forfeit over Patricia BERMUDEZ (ARG). Both wrestlers had already qualified their countries for the Olympics by virtue of their semifinal victories.

It was a rough day for the United States women’s squad, which was able to land just one Olympic berth among the five wrestlers it brought to the Pan Am Qualifier. The American women now have qualified in just 2-of-6 weight classes for Rio. 

There are no true second-place matches in this event, so the two wrestlers who land berths in the finals in each weight class will qualify their countries for the Olympic Games.

There will be two more Olympic Games qualifiers after the Pan Am Olympic Qualifier, in Mongolia in April and in Turkey in May.

Pan American countries earned six Olympic berths in women’s freestyle during the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas. Canada (48kg, 63g) and Colombia (58kg, 75kg) each qualified for the Olympics in two weight classes in Vegas with the United States (75kg) and Brazil (75kg) each landing one Olympic berth.

There will be six Olympic weight classes for women for the first time this year. Women had four weight classes in its initial three Olympic competitions in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

World champions Helen MAROULIS and Elena PIROZHKOVA of the United States did not compete on Friday in Texas. Three-time World champion Adeline GRAY qualified the U.S. for the Olympics at 75kg after striking gold at the 2015 Worlds.

The 2016 Pan Am Olympic Qualifier continues with the men’s freestyle competition on Saturday. The Greco-Roman tournament is set for Sunday in Texas.

Dr. Pepper Arena, Frisco, Texas
March 4-6, 2016

Women’s Freestyle Medal Matches
(Top two finishers qualify their countries for 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Gold – Carolina CASTILLO HIDALGO (COL) df. Patricia BERMUDEZ (ARG), medical forfeit
Bronze – Laura PEDRO TORRES (MEX) df. Susana DE ALMEIDA DOS SANTOS (BRA), 3-0
Bronze – Alyssa LAMPE (USA) df. Yusneylys GUZMAN LOPEZ (CUB) by TF, 10-0, 1:29

Gold – Jillian GALLAYS (CAN) df. Betzabeth ARGUELLO VILLEGAS (VEN), medical forfeit
Bronze – Whitney CONDER (USA) df. Luisa VALVERDE MELENDRES (ECU) by TF, 12-2, 4:19
Bronze – Lianna MONTERO HERRERA (CUB) df. Leidy CIFUENTES CARRANZA (COL) by TF, 11-0

Gold – Michelle FAZZARI (CAN) df. Joice SOUZA DA SILVA (BRA) by Fall, 3:28
Bronze – Virginia JIMENEZ FERNANDEZ (VEN) df. Alli RAGAN (USA), 8-5
Bronze – Lissette ANTES CASTILLO (ECU) df. Yanet SOVERO NINO (PER), 7-1

Gold – Erin CLODGO (USA) df. Lais NUNES DE OLIVEIRA (BRA), medical forfeit
Bronze – Katerina VIDIAUX LOPEZ (Cuba)

Gold – DORI YEATS (CAN) df. Gilda DE OLIVEIRA (BRA) by TF, 10-0, 2:06
Bronze – Yudari SANCHEZ RODRIGUEZ (CUB) df. Tamyra MENSAH (USA) by fall, 5:39

75kg (Round robin)
Gold – Erica WIEBE (CAN), 4-0 record
Silver – Jaramit WEFFER GUANIPA (VEN), 2-2 record
Bronze – Lisset HECHEVARRIA MEDINA (CUB), 2-2 record