Hamilton’s Fazzari at wrestling’s world championships

Canada will field an impressive team, including Hamilton’s Michelle Fazzari, to compete at the 2012 FILA Women Wrestling World Championships, this week in Edmonton. The contingent also counts world championships medallists, Commonwealth, Pan-American, Youth Olympic, and World Junior champions.

“This has been an incredible summer for Canadian Women’s Wrestling. Our athletes have basked in Olympic success and now have an opportunity to showcase our great sport even further, with the Women’s World Championships in Strathcona County,” said Canada’s head coach Leigh Vierling.

“This team has been preparing with great anticipation. We have a talented and tough group stepping onto the mats at the World Championships. They know if they compete with intensity and focus, they are capable of great success,”

The team is headlined by Olympian Leah Callahan of St. John, NB (72kg, Dinos Wrestling Club) who represented Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games in London this past summer. Earlier this year, Callahan won the Austria Open, as well as the Olympic Qualifying tournament. She is the 2011 Pan-American champion in the category.

The team also boasts four reigning Canadian title holders in Jessica MacDonald (51kg, Brock Wrestling Club) of Windsor, ON, Fazzari (59kg, Brock Wrestling Club), Justine Bouchard (63kg, Dinos Wrestling Club) of St. Albert, AB, as well as the recently crowned World Junior Champion and reigning Youth Olympic Champion Dorothy Yeats (67kg, Montreal Wrestling Club) of Montreal.

Ashley McKilligan (48kg, Saskatoon Wrestling Club) of North Vancouver, B.C., and Brittanee Laverdure (55kg, Dinos Wrestling Club) of Williams Lake, B.C., complete the Canadian roster set to compete.

Canada has four wrestlers who have previously won medals at FILA World Championships. MacDonald took the bronze medal in 2011, Bouchard wrestled to third place at the 2010 World Championships, Brittanee Laverdure won the bronze at the 2008 edition of these Championships, while Yeats just won the gold medal and the Worlds title at the World Junior Championships.

Two-time Olympic medallist Carol Huynh of New Hazelton, BC, three-time Olympic medallist Tonya Verbeek of Grimsby, and three-time World Championships medallist Martine Dugrenier will not compete. All three wrestlers, who represented Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games, are nursing injuries. However, Verbeek and Huynh will be in Edmonton to participate at various promotional activities.