Wrestler Genevieve Morrison has followed up her Pan Am Games gold with a world championship bronze medal on Wednesday, along with a Canadian Olympic spot for Rio.
At the 2015 worlds in Las Vegas, the Shawville, Quebec-born, Calgary-based grappler in the women’s 48kg freestyle category had to win five matches to the podium, and it was only a loss against a two-time world champion that kept her from greater glory. Morrison beat Valentina Islamova of Russia for the podium in her final outing.
Morrison, 26, had to win a qualification bout to enter the main draw on Wednesday, which she did by beating Rebecca Muambo of Cameroon, the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist.
The Canadian then rattled off three straight victories en route to the semifinal, defeating Vicmarie Requena Tirado (Puerto Rico), Nataliya Pulkovska (Ukraine) and Carolina Castillo Hidalgo (Colombia). An impressive run considering Pulkovska was the silver medallist from the European Championships in 2014, while Castillo Hidalgo was fifth in the world just four years ago.
It was in the semifinals that Morrison had the stiffest test imaginable, meeting two-time defending world champion Eri Tosaka of Japan. The Asian wonder, who also won a world silver three years ago in Alberta, narrowly defeated Morrison 6-4, sending the Canadian to the mat in a bid for bronze.
Up against this year’s Baku 2015 (the first European Games) third place finisher Islamova, Morrison delivered with a 3-2 win from a late takedown for two points and the bronze for Canada – its first at the 2015 World Championships. Incidentally, Morrison’s gold at the Pan Am Games in Mississauga was also the first medal for Wrestling Canada at TO2015. By virtue of making it to the semifinals, Morrison also secured a women’s 48kg Olympic spot for Canada at Rio 2016.
Tosaka went on to win her third straight 48kg world gold on Wednesday, while Mariya Stadnyk of Azerbaijan took silver. A second bronze medal (two bronze medal matches are custom in wrestling) went to relative newcomer Francisca Blaszka of Netherlands.