Canada’s two-time Olympic wrestling medalist Tonya Verbeek will fight for gold Thursday afternoon at the London Olympics, hoping to complete her medal collection.
The wrestler from Grimsby, Ont., performed a big double-leg take-down to defeat Colombia’s Jackeline Renteria Castillo in the semi-finals to advance to the gold medal final later this afternoon. Earlier Thursday, she also rolled past Geeta Geeta of India and Ukrainian wrestler Tetyana Lazareva.
Verbeek, just a week shy of her 35th birthday, is trying to finish off a medal collection she began in Athens. She became Canada’s first-ever Olympic medalist in women’s wrestling when she captured an Olympic silver medal in the 55kg weight class at the 2004 Games. She followed that up with a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Now she takes aim at gold.
Verbeek gets a re-match with 2004 and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Saori Yoshida. Yoshida has won nine world championships since 2002.
In the 72-kilogram class, Leah Callahan of St.John’s
Nfld. lost her first match and has been eliminated. The first-time Canadian
Olympian lost to Burmaa Ochirbat of Mongolia this morning. Now that Orchibat has
also lost, that means Callahan loses her chance to make the repechage tournament
to take a shot at bronze.