Watson Lake wrestler Brittanee Laverdure has pinned down a tremendous summer of competition. And what better way to cap the season than with a world title?
Competing at the World University Championships the weekend before last in Turin, Italy, Laverdure won gold in the 55-kilogram class.
For the 28-year-old, who won a string of competitions over the summer, the collectedness that comes with experience is her advantage.
“I’m not stressing about it,” said Laverdure. “I’m confident with all the preparation I’ve put in and I’m not stressing about my opponent or learning new moves.
“I’m getting older and I have composure in the match. I don’t get panicky when I’m in situations where I’m down in points, and I think that’s to my advantage.”
For the gold, Laverdure won her three matches, ending with a 1-0, 1-0 win over a Ukrainian competitor Iryna Khariv in the final.
“She did really well right up to the finals, she dominated most of her opponents, so I knew she was aggressive,” said Laverdure. “So I just I was very technical in my match and didn’t give her any openings.”
To reach the finals, Laverdure defeated Poland’s Sylwia Bilenska, who she defeated at the Polish Cup in August. The match, which ended with a score of 3-0, 3-1, contained the only point scored against Laverdure at the championships.
“She had scored on me in August, but this time she only scored one point on me,” said Laverdure. “I think I dominated the match. I dictated the pace of it and it was a good match.”
Laverdure opened her stay in Italy defeating Turkey’s Hafize Sahin, putting pressure on her opponent by scoring four points in the opening round on her way to a 4-0, 2-0 win.
“I dominated in the first round, the second round was a little bit closer – she turned more aggressive because I had scored so many points on her in the first round,” said Laverdure. “I just remained calm and composed, so it was fine. I wasn’t really stressed.”
The third-year student at the University of Calgary Law School, who will be getting her degree in the spring, also competed at the University Championships in 2006, missing the podium by a few spots.
“In 2006, I lost to a girl I’ve probably wrestled 10 times and my only loss was to her there,” she said.
Laverdure will now take a break from competition before some domestic events in the New Year, with the long-term goal of the 2012 Olympics in her sights.
“I might do one tournament in New York, but I haven’t decided yet,” said Laverdure. “I don’t need to do anything, I have quite a few matches in this year. So I want to do more practice and work on technique.
“I want to get my law degree done – I’m done in April – and then I probably will put off my articling, which is like apprenticing. I am going to train for the Olympic trials, which are in December of 2011.”
Her gold in Turin is Laverdure’s second European triumph this year, having won her class at the Polish Open in Spala, Poland, in early August.
Later that month Laverdure then won gold at the inaugural World Combat Games in Beijing, China.
Earlier in the summer she came second at the Canada Cup International after taking first overall at the Dave Shultz International in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in February.
Just prior to that, she won her weight-class at the Men’s and Women’s Freestyle Wrestling Tournament hosted by the University of Guelph in Ontario.
Last year she defended her Canadian Senior Nationals title in Regina, Saskatchewan. She also won the CIS National Championships in 2005 and in 2006, winning her the University of Calgary’s Athlete of the Year award in 2006.
In October 2008, Laverdure won a bronze at the World Championships in Tokyo, Japan – but not immediately. It was weeks after the event when she moved up from fourth to the bottom podium tier after the original bronze winner was caught doping.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com