Oksana Livach, in blue, of Ukraine wins against Jessica Anne Marie MacDonald of Canada in the qualification of the women’s 50kg category of the Wrestling World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (Balazs Czagany/MTI via AP)

B.C.’s Justina Di Stasio wins women’s 72-kg title at wrestling worlds

Di Stasio’s medal was one of three on a successful day for Canada’s women wrestlers.

Justina Di Stasio knew dropping into a lower weight class for the world wrestling championships would come with challenges. There would be changes to her training to focus on quickness, and changes to her diet to maintain her new fighting weight.

Those changes paid off in a big way Wednesday, as Di Stasio won the women’s 72-kilogram final with a 4-2 win over Mongolia’s Nasanburmaa Ochirbat. The world title is Canada’s first since 2012.

Di Stasio, from Burnaby, B.C., was fighting at 72 kilograms after she didn’t make Canada’s team at 76 kg.

“There was a moment of ‘What am I going to do now?’ and I dwelled on that. Then I thought OK, 72 is still awesome and it’s going to take some differences in training like watching my weight and getting quicker,” she said.

“It was a challenge like everything, but it was a good one because today was awesome.”

Di Stasio’s medal was one of three on a successful day for Canada’s women wrestlers. Danielle Lappage took silver in the women’s 65-kg classification with a close 6-5 loss to Finland’s Petra Olli in the final. Later, 2016 Olympic champion Erica Wiebe earned bronze in the women’s 76-kg event with a 4-0 win over Epp Mae of Estonia.

Olivia Di Bacco of Orillia, Ont., fell 7-4 to Tamyra Mensah of the United States in the women’s 68-kg bronze-medal match.

With the three medals, Canada tied its best world championships ever when it won gold, silver and bronze in 2012. The Canadians can top that total when Diana Weicker wrestles for a bronze in the women’s 53-kilogram event and Alexandria Town fights in a 57-kg repechage bout on Thursday.

“We all have to wrestle each other to make the team. Those trials are really hard, then you have all those girls going out and placing at tournaments it builds confidence,” Di Stasio said of Canada’s emerging women’s wrestling team. “It’s like we’re not getting spanked or whatever. We’re wrestling good people in Canada, then you go out and you bring that with you.”

On Wednesday, Di Stasio scored two early takedowns against Ochirbat to move in front 4-0. The Mongolian scored a takedown to close the gap, but Di Stasio defended successfully for the remainder of the match to pick up the win.

“I was trying to keep scoring but she was closing up pretty well,” Di Stasio said. ”But I was just trying to make sure I was in the right position and not giving up too many gaps.

“I gave up one, she got a really good takedown, but it’s OK.”

Related: 2 Canadians advance to finals at world wrestling championships

Related: Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Di Stasio said she’ll take a month to coach at Simon Fraser University before returning to training in December ahead of tryouts for the national team. The goal is the Tokyo Olympics, although there is no women’s competition at 72 kilograms after that classification was replaced with a 75-kg event following the 2012 London Games.

Earlier, Lappage’s return to the world championships finished just short of a title.

Lappage, from Olds, Alta., was defeated by Olli in a controversial final. Lappage scored with a last-second takedown to tie it at 5-5. However, Olli was awarded an extra point and the match because Lappage had been cautioned earlier for grabbing Olli’s fingers.

“Really disappointing finish obviously,” Lappage said. ”I really thought I had it. Still very confused and emotional about it.”

Lappage jumped out to a 3-0 lead, scoring on a shot clock violation by Olli followed by a takedown. Olli cut the lead to 3-2 before the break with a takedown of her own.

The caution against Lappage plus an Olli takedown gave the Finn a 5-3 lead before the dramatic finish.

“She’s a tough competitor. She knows how to scramble and move,” Lappage said. ”I think I’m better so I wish I had have been a bit more offensive the whole time. Obviously I did OK but I know that was my match to take.”

Despite the disappointing result, the medal capped an impressive return to the world championships for Lappage after two serious injuries threatened to derail her career. After finished eighth in her world championship debut in 2014, Lappage lost a year to a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Then, after making the team for the 2016 Olympics, Lappage suffered a ruptured hamstring while warming up for her first match,

“It’s been two years since then and I’ve been able to come back and make this team again,” Lappage said. ”It’s only the second time I’ve been here even though I feel like I’ve belonged in this position for a long time. So it was really exciting to make the finals, it’s the best I’ve ever done.”

Wiebe, from Stittsville, Ont., capped Canada’s three-medal day with a shutout of Mae. Wiebe was coming off a close loss to eventual champion Adeline Gray in Tuesday’s semifinals.

Also Wednesday, Weicker, from St. Catharines, Ont., advanced to the 53-kg semifinals before losing 10-0 to Sarah Hildebrandt of the United States. Weicker will face the winner of a repechage match between Zhuldyz Eshimova of Kazakhstan and Anzhela Dorogan of Azerbaijan for bronze on Thursday.

Town was defeated 10-0 by Bulgaria’s Bilyana Dudova in the 57-kg quarterfinals, but can fight for a bronze medal Thursday with a win in a repechage bout with Romania’s Kateryna Zhydachevska.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Housing starts, value of building permits down across Greater Victoria

Fundamental changes, municipal regulations blamed for the drop with some communities bucking trend

Video guide on dealing with dementia snags Island Health two awards

The 18-part video series offers practical advice for family caregivers

Greater Victoria home to some 17,000 individuals with Indigenous identity

Victoria’s share of 4.6 per cent Indigenous population is below the national average of 4.9 per cent

Esquimalt speed skating week helps province determine find fastest skater

Speed Week takes place on Dec. 17 at Archie Browning arena

Longtime Saanich drama group brings pirates onstage for traditional Christmas pantomime

St. Luke’s Players present Treasure Island Dec. 18 to Jan. 4

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read