Young wrestler from Victoria, BC wrestles her way to career best performance

(Budapest, HUN – September 20, 2013) On the last day of the freestyle competitions at the 2013 FILA World Championships, Canadian wrestler Stacie Anaka wrestled to her career best result by winning the silver medal in the 67kg weight class.

Anaka secures Canada’s second medal of these 2013 Wrestling World Championships, after Jessica MacDonald won the bronze medal on Wednesday.

“It went well today. I didn’t have time to prepare for these World Championships as much as I would have liked, being called in at the last minute. I took the opportunity to go out there to wrestle and have fun,” said Anaka. “It ended a little too quickly to my liking, but overall I am very pleased with being second in the World. It was especially awesome to walk behind the Canadian flag entering the mat.

The silver medal is nonetheless remarkable for Anaka, 26, who six weeks ago was not slated to represent Canada at these World Championships. Anaka filled in for the injured Dorothy Yeats. Anaka was alongside her coach Dave McKay of the Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club and Leigh Veirling, Head coach of the Women’s Canadian National Team.

Wrestling in the 67 kg weight class, Anaka started the day by winning her match 3-2 against the Nasanburmaa Ochirbat of Mongolia. In the quarterfinals, Anaka took a convincing 9-1 victory by technical superiority against Gozal Zutova of Azerbaijan to gain access to the semi-finals.

The semi-final opponent, Zhangting Zhou of China, proved to be a tougher competitor than the preceding match, but Anaka resisted the pressure and took an 8-6 win, advancing to the gold medal round.

Facing her arch-rival from Ukraine, Alina Stadnik-Makhynia, Anaka knew it would be a difficult match to win. The match started with the two wrestlers observing each other. Anaka was given a passivity warning after one minute elapsed, and then was given a formal passivity call. Under the new rules of wrestling, a wrestler must score a point within 30 seconds if awarded a passivity call.

With a few seconds left on the passivity clock, Anaka scored two points, but was quickly countered by Stadnik-Makhynia with a chest lock. Holding the position, the Ukrainian wrestler was able to flip Anaka and force her two shoulders to the ground for the pin and the victory.

Anaka had faced Stadnik-Makhynia, the three-time European Champion and 2010 World Junior Champion, earlier this year at the Battle at the Falls and had won her dual 9-7, the first tournament held under the FILA rules.

Anaka, the 2007 Bronze medallist at the FILA Junior World Championships, is enjoying a remarkable breakthrough season in the senior ranks, winning the FILA Pan-American Championships and the Grand Prix of Germany. At the University Games, Anaka went on to take the bronze medal.

“It has been a very emotional and challenging tournament again this year. Our team prepared very well all year, but alas we caught some really tough breaks in the first two days against athletes we know we can beat,” said Leigh Vierling, Head Coach of the Women’s Canadian National Team. “It is nice to have such a solid day today to end the tournament... Stacie Anaka’s performance showed incredible heart, I am so proud of her for so many reasons. Two of our athletes rose to the podium here. But we have served notice that we have a new generation of wrestlers ready to challenge to be the best. I am excited for the future.”

In the 72kg weight class, Erica Wiebe had a stellar start to her tournament, winning her two opening matches 7-0 (vs CUB) and 8-4 by fall (vs SWE). In the quarter finals, she lost 0-3 by fall to the reigning Olympic Champion and eventual silver medallist, Russia’s Natalia Vorobeva.

Reintegrated to the tournament thanks to the repêchage system, Wiebe faced the eventual bronze medallist, Mongolia’s Burmaa Ochirbat, a tightly contested match. Ultimately, it’s Ochirbat who won by the score 3-5. Wiebe finished her day on the mats in a respectable seventh position.

Braxton Papadopoulos, wrestling in the first Senior World Championships, started her day on the positive note, winning her first match 0-4 by fall. She then withdrew from the tournament due to an injury.

The FILA World Championships continues tomorrow and Sunday with the Greco-Roman tournaments. Canada does not have any wrestlers in the Greco-Roman competitions.