Canadian wrestlers Di Stasio and Randhawa take gold at Commonwealth Games

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom — Justina Di Stasio and Nishan Randhawa both won gold medals to lead a Canadian wrestling medal at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday.

Canada also struck gold on the course where Camryn Rogers of Richmond, BC, won the women’s hammer throw.

All six wrestlers who competed at Birmingham’s Coventry Arena on Saturday took to the podium.

Di Stasio, a 29-year-old from Burnaby, BC, defeated Nigerian Hannah Amuchechi Rueben 4-2 in the final with a four-point takedown to win the women’s 76-kilogram division

“She was very strong, but when I pulled her down the first two times, I felt her pull up,” explains Di Stasio. “She was strong enough to pull up, so I let her in so I could sneak in.

“But I had to be patient because if I missed, I knew she would know it was coming.”

Di Stasio won a world title in the 72 kg division in 2018 in Budapest, Hungary, as well as Pan American Games silver in Toronto in 2015.

“We had a game plan,” the Canadian said on Saturday. “Sometimes I let go of the game plan, but in that game I heard my coach say something and I listened to it and I could do it, so that was really good.”

Randhawa of Abbotsford, BC defeated Nicolaas de Lange of South Africa 6-1 in the second half of their last game for a decisive 9-3 victory.

“As the match progressed, I think I picked up the pace a bit,” said 24-year-old Randhawa. “Feels great. It’s been a long road and had a few injuries along the way.

“We finish strong. Hopefully we can maintain this momentum in the senior world championship in Serbia.”

Madison Parks of Brantford, Ontario, and Samantha Stewart of Fredericton claimed silver in the women’s 50 and 53 kg weight classes, respectively.

Darthe Capellan of Surrey, BC, and Jasmit Phulka of Abbotsford, BC, won bronze medals in the men’s 57 and 74 kg.

Canada was third in the overall medal tally on Saturday with 84 medals, including 22 gold, behind leader Australia with 154 medals and 54 gold, and host nation England with 146 and 50 respectively.

The 2002 Commonwealth Games end on Monday.

On the course, Rogers was the only woman to throw more than 70 yards with a winning third-round toss of 74.08. Canadian teammate Jillian Weir from Kingston, Ontario, took bronze.

“To be able to come back and get it in the third round… we train for every possible outcome,” Rogers said. “The first couple felt really good. They were a bit off. It was great to get it in the third round.

“Now I’m even more excited to come back in four years.”

Ethan Katzberg of Nanaimo, BC, set a career best of 76.36 meters for a silver medal in the men’s hammer throw.

The rhythmic gymnastics team closed their competition on Saturday with four medals. Carmel Kallemaa led the way with silver in clubs and bronze in both hoop and ribbon.

The 24-year-old from Thornhill, Ontario, collected four medals in Birmingham, including gold in the team event.

“It was just my dream to make it to this race,” said Kallemaa.

“At first I didn’t even dream about finals. I just thought I wanted to make it there. I made it and hoped to get to at least one final.

“To get three finals and one medal in every event is just incredible. It’s definitely one of the best days of my life so far.”

Her teammate Suzanna Shahbazian of Montreal, also a team gold winner, took a silver medal in the ball final.

A day after winning the women’s one-meter springboard, diver Mia Vallée of Kirkland, Que., added her medal tally with bronze in synchronized springboard with Saskatoon’s Margo Erlam.

Vallée, a silver medalist in the three-meter springboard in this year’s world championship in Budapest, will compete in that event on Sunday.

Canadian beach volleyball duos Sam Schachter and Daniel Dearing, and Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan, won their semifinals on Saturday to advance to Sunday’s gold medal matches.

Schachter and Dearing defeated English brothers Javier and Joaquin Bello 2-1 to win a final men’s match with Australians Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett.

Humana-Paredes and Pavan, the 2019 women’s world champions, defeated New Zealand’s Alice Ziemann and Shauna Polley 2-1.

The Canadians will face Australia’s Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar for the title.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 6, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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