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Laverdure misses spot at worlds but has another shot

Watson Lake's Brittanee Laverdure didn't capture a spot on Team Canada for the FILA World Wrestling Championships, but that doesn't mean she's not going.

Watson Lake’s Brittanee Laverdure didn’t capture a spot on Team Canada for the FILA World Wrestling Championships, but that doesn’t mean she’s not going.

There are two ways she could still make it to the championships this September in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The 32-year-old placed second in her weight class at Wrestling Canada Lutte’s world championship team trials at the University of Calgary on Saturday, thereby earning the first alternate designation. So if the first-place finisher, Saskatoon’s Jillian Gallays, withdraws for whatever reason, Laverdure is in.

Laverdure will also try to make the Canadian team in her old weight class, 55-kilograms, this July at another team trials.

Laverdure attributed the loss to Gallays to “not having a lot of matches in the last year. So, there’s room for improvement.”

“You always would love to win, but it’s kind of a mixed blessing because it makes you go, ‘I have things I have to fix,’” she added. “I took a little bit of a break from the sport, so I missed an opportunity to get a little bit stronger.”

Laverdure placed second behind Gallays in the senior women’s 53-kilogram weight division, a new weight class introduced this year in a move by the sport’s governing body to refresh wrestling after it was nearly eliminated from the 2020 Olympics.

Laverdure, who competes out of the Dinos Wrestling Club in Calgary, lost 11-7 in the final minute after dropping a 7-0 lead.

“I was winning the match, but I ended up getting overpowered in the end,” said Laverdure. “Everyone said, ‘You didn’t get out-wrestled, you got out-muscled.’ I just got overpowered. And I made tactical errors - I didn’t lower my stance - just stupid things. If I did a couple more competitions this year I wouldn’t have made those mistakes.”

It was a tough trials. Five wrestlers competed for the spot with three exiting with injuries.

A win for Dinos teammate Vanessa Brown over Gallays would have given Laverdure the spot. Despite suffering from a rib injury, Brown entered the match to try to get her teammate the trip to the worlds. After taking a 8-0 lead Brown withdrew at 8-5 because of her injury.

Laverdure, who recently regained national champion status, is also in the running for a spot on Team Canada at the Commonwealth Games this summer in Glasgow, Scotland. The team could be announced as early as next week.

“That would be super cool,” said Laverdure. “That was actually my goal, to make the Commonwealth Games team over worlds because I’ve done worlds. At this stage in my career, the goal is to get to the Olympics.”

Laverdure returned to competition after eight months away to win gold in the new 53-kilogram class at the 2014 Senior National Championships this past March.

It was her first national title since 2009 when she won in the 55-kilogram weight class.

Laverdure finished third in the 55-kilogram division at last year’s championship and then took time off to recover from shoulder surgery and focus on her career as a lawyer.

Laverdure has twice earned the position as first-alternate for Canada’s Olympic wrestling team. She placed fifth at the 2012 FILA World Wrestling Championships for 55-kilogram.

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