After an emotional day two... I have regrouped for the final day...
I asked Paul to write the blog last night, I just needed a break a little break.
It was a day of highs and lows and believe it or not we didnt quite get the breaks we needed at the times we needed them which was frustrating (my foot is fine...).
At 63kg I felt horrible for Justine for the way that her match turned out. The bottom line is I feel very responcible for the outcome (which I feel horrible about!)...
I could not find any matches on the Turkish girl and since Justine has such a great track record against the majority of the athletes in the weight I made a classic coaching mistake. You never want to scare your athlete, you want them to feel confident and ready going into a match. So I told Justine she would be fine in the first match. From the first whistle the girl was pawing justine diectly in the face and backing away, yet justine eventually hit a single leg toward the end on the first round only to be countered and thrown for three as she came upto her feet! She continued to scramble and came out on top but failed to turn the turkish girl (a little panicked).
She then won the second round, yet was a little gun shy as she was now a little worried that her opponent was a bit of a funky leg defense athlete. In the third round the Turekish girl tried to goto the clinch, and Justine took a few shots but didnt pursue them the way that I know she can. The round ended 0-0 and (our bad luck) the turk got the clinch and won the match. I felt horrible!!!! I could have gotten Justine a bit more activated and ready to go to war. I fell into a classic mistake of looking ahead at the long list of athletes coming down the pipe and failed to ensure she was really mentally preped for a dirty, abrasive, passive athlete. (I couldnt feel worse, for an athlete who has dedicated herself to working soooo very hard to be great). The bottom linbe is Justine is a tremendously skilled athlete and we got unfocussed and didnt let those skills shine through (and in our sport, it happened to many other great athletes yesterday too).
Amanda had a very good day at 59kg and lost a tight match for the bronze medal vs AZE, last years silver medalist. She opened the tournament with a win, lost to Ukraine (the eventual champion), she defeated the Chinese girl in what I thought was a really focussed effort. Amanda is a very quick and agile athlete, and she did a great job of going after her opponents and getting into the match! She usually was on their legs with an attack within the first 15 seconds of every round, which honestly most of our other girls have not done. I would have liked to see amanda on the podium yesterday. She definately was capable of it! I hope she is happy with her first World Championships effort and placement. She definately showed she can be a serious competitor at the weight!
Tonya had the day I anticipated she would. She has been wonderful this year and has really rededicated herself to the love of this sport and training (something, I thought she lacked, just a bit heading into last years worlds). She gutted her way through multiple three round matches (Russia, Azerbijian, Ukraine, and Japan)! She earned her spot on the podium yesterday for sure! Paul already talked about the dramatic world final! I would encourage people to watch on the website. She was penalized with a Caution and one point at about the 1 minute point of the third round (this gave Japan the lead). I was furious!!! The japanese girl was not attacking, just faking and the refs went with t. It was the only call like that I have seen in the tournemament so far!!! Saori took a low single and again they gave her a point (prematurely, in my opinion). she never actually finished the leg attack and Tonya ended up countering her across her back for two points! Both of Yoshidas first two points were not earned!!! The thing that makes me so pissed is that Yoshida is such a great wrester (the most successful athlete in the history of the sport, she is the womens Satiev). It bugs me that the refs think they need to "help her out"! We didnt get the breaks, bottom line, in that match that you sometimes need to get, to win that gold medal. Tonya should hold her head high! She is one hell of a competitor and we all know a true champion for Canada!!!
I didnt wanna take too long this morning with this as I am watching video. I am proud of all our girls! They are amazing athletes, competitors and ambassadors for Canada Wrestling! One match can make you feel great or be absolutely devastating to how you feel. All of them need to see the big picture, they have all done increedible things on a wreslting mat!
TODAY, our final day for the women. We are in second place as a team and things are tight! I really just want our final two athletes to step onto the mat and be ready to go this afternoon.
At 67kg Martine has KAZ first match, yet this is a different athlete than the one she faced at last years final. Here second match would be the winner between USA and China. She will need to be ready. I am very confident that Martine is the athlete to beat at the weight class. A few of the key competitors have relocated to 63kg or 72kg for the Worlds. YET, as we already learned the hard way, no one can be overlooked. Each match is an individual effort and you gotta go make it happen (each time).
At 72kg, Ohenewa is the only athlete in her weight with a first round bye. She will likely move right into a big match up with Kyoko Hamiguchi of Japan in the second round of wresting. They have met a number of time and it should be exciting to see how it plays out again today. As Jessie MacDonald did, I hope ohenewa is ready to step up and beat Japan! She doesnt need to be intimidated by anyone! I know Kyoko is not taking many attacks, and will likely try and win a tactical match.
I am excited to get back out there today and finish this tournament off! I have gotten so many compliments about our team at the tournament. But lets face it, people are not telling me anything I dont already know... Our girls a great competitors!
Wish us luck!