Sport Shorts: Women's Wrestlers Grapple for Three World Medals

Wrestling: Canadian grapplers won three medals from the 2010 World Wrestling Championships in Moscow and one of them was gold. Montreal’s Martine Dugrenier continued an incredible run by being crowned world champion for the third consecutive year. In the 67 kg event, Dugrenier went undefeated in four matches. She was 5th at the 2008 Olympic Games. Olympic teammate Ohenewa Akuffo (Guelph, Ont.) reached the final in 72 kg and dropped a tough match to a Bulgarian opponent en route to winning the silver medal. Akuffo is a two-time Pan American Games medallist and a pioneer in Canadian women’s wrestling.

A reigning Olympic champion from the West Coast was also in the mix. Carol Huynh (Hazelton, B.C.) won bronze in the 48 kg event on Sept. 8, a day where she fought fight separate opponents. It is her fourth career world medal. Two-time Olympic medallist Tonya Verbeek (Beamsville, Ont.) dropped her 59 kg bronze medal bout to finish 4th. On the men’s side, Haislan Garcia (New Westminster, B.C.) was top Canadian finishing 5th in 66 kg. Toronto’s Khetag Pliev also made the top-10, finishing 7th in 96 kg.

Triathlon: On the streets of Budapest Sunday, Paula Findlay battled one of the toughest triathlon races of the season, searching for her third straight World Championship Series win. After a difficult swim, Findlay fought back in the cycling leg to race with the lead pack. The 21-year-old from Edmonton nudged ahead for a few moments in the final running lap but had no energy left for the final sprint. She finished 5th. This was her rookie year racing with the world’s elite.

Two-time Olympic medallist Simon Whitfield (Victoria) was forced to withdraw with an injury. Elsewhere in Budapest, Kirsten Sweetland battled terrible weather conditions to win silver in the women’s under-23 Triathlon World Championships. Four years ago, Sweetland was world junior champion. On the junior level, Joanna Brown (Carpe, Ont.) showed her potential in winning the bronze medal. On the men’s side, Matt Sharpe (Victoria) cracked the top-10 to finish 9th.

Canoe-Kayak: A host of paddlers represented Canada over the weekend at the Canoe-Kayak World Slalom Championships in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Top Canadian was Sindy Audet, who reached the final in the women’s C1 event to finish 8th. Two Canadians broke through to the semifinals: Ben Hayward in the men’s K1 and Jessica Groeneveld in the women’s K1. On a tight, unpredictable course where conditions change without notice, Canadians John Hastings, Bernal Potvin, Cameron Smedley, 2008 Olympian Sarah Boudens and five-time Olympian David Ford also competed.

Judo: Amid tough competition at the World Judo Championships in Tokyo, Canadian judokas fought hard and four finished in the top-10. Frazer Will (60 kg), Michal Popiel (66 kg), Kalem Kachur (81 kg) and Alexandre Émond (90 kg) all finished in 9th spot.

1960: Friday marked the 50th anniversary of the Rome 1960 Olympic Games.
At a special ceremony officials held sport events and a symbolic re-lighting on the Olympic Flame with IOC members who competed in 1960 in attendance. That included Canadian Richard Pound (long-time member of the Canadian Olympic Committee), who swam in Rome five decades ago. Among his recollections was this about a boxer later named Ali: “Cassius Clay was this big brash kid who took all of the oxygen out of the air.”