Laverdure takes silver at Pan Am championships in Mexico

Brittanee Laverdure got a refresher course last Wednesday on techniques she might encounter on the international wrestling scene.

Brittanee Laverdure got a refresher course last Wednesday on techniques she might encounter on the international wrestling scene.

The Watson Lake native dropped her final bout and took silver at the Pan-American Wrestling Championships in Mexico City.

Since she leaves tomorrow for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, she’s happy for the lesson.

“It’s a learning experience,” said Laverdure. “I’m leaving on Thursday to Commonwealths and some of the countries like India, and some of the African countries, have these techniques that we don’t normally see all the time.

“So it was kind of good to have something like that at Pan-Ams because I haven’t been up against some of these non-western countries that have different arsenals in their repertoire.”

Laverdure took silver out of 15 wrestlers in the 53-kilogram weight division in Mexico.

She pinned wrestlers from Honduras and El Salvador to win her first two rounds. Laverdure then shut out Venezuela’s Aguis Rivas to reach the gold medal bout where she was pinned by Ecuador’s Angelica Bustos.

“In my first two matches, I ended up pinning them really quickly,” said Laverdure. “Then in my third match against Venezuela, it almost went the full six minutes, but I beat her by technical superiority.

“In the final I was leading by two or three points and thought, ‘This girl feels a little bit offensive, I’d better end this quickly.’ And I kind of rushed a pinning situation and she reversed me … so my arms ended up trapped.”

Along with Laverdure’s, Canada collected 11 medals to win the team event at the Pan-Ams. However, Canada had six wrestlers, including Laverdure, to make a final but took only one gold with Michelle Fazzari in the women’s 60-kilogram class.

“Our couch was disappointed because we had six finalists,” said Laverdure. “We had a lot of injuries. One of our girls, within the first 10 seconds of her match, blew her (posterior cruciate ligament) and is getting surgery Wednesday … Another teammate in the 48-kilogram blew her shoulder in the first 15 seconds of the match – like dislocated it.

“And then I got pinned off this weird move and my coach is just like, ‘Holy cow! What is going on?’

“Not the best finish for Canada.”

Laverdure will compete in the 55-kilogram weight class at the quadrennial Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, next week. They will be the first Games of the 32-year-old’s career.

“I want to medal – that’s my expectation,” said Laverdure. “But I’m not stressing about it. If you do what you’re trained to do, the results should flow.

“I’m excited for our team because I think our team will do really well. We have a pretty good line-up.”

Laverdure has also been named to Team Canada for the FILA World Wrestling Championships this September in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

She earned a spot on the team for the 55-kilogram weight class with a pair of wins during world team trials in Guelph, Ont., earlier this month. She then stayed in Guelph to compete at the Canada Cup the next day and took gold in the women’s 53-kilogram division.

The world championships in Uzbekistan will be Laverdure’s fourth in her career. She won a bronze at the 2008 world championships in Japan and also took two fifth-place results at worlds in 2007 and 2012.

Laverdure returned to competition after eight months away following shoulder surgery to win gold in the 53-kilogram weight class at the 2014 Senior National Championships in March. It was her first national title since 2009 when she won in the 55-kilogram class.

Laverdure, who competes out of the Dinos Wrestling Club in Calgary, is not the only Yukoner going to the Commonwealth Games.

Fellow Watson Laker Zach Bell is also on Canada’s roster for the quadrennial event. The two-time Olympian will compete at his third Commonwealth Games in both road and track cycling.

Bell won a bronze medal in the scratch race at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. He took in a fifth-place finish at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.

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