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Di Stasio and Dhesi lead Canada's wrestling team to the Olympic Games

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TORONTO – World champion Justina Di Stasio and veteran Amar Dhesi will lead Canada's wrestling team to the Olympic Games in Paris. Ana Godinez Gonzalez of Burnaby, B.C., Alex Moore of Montreal and Linda Morais of Tecumseh, Ont.

TORONTO – World champion Justina Di Stasio and veteran Amar Dhesi will lead Canada’s wrestling team to the Olympic Games in Paris.

Ana Godinez Gonzalez of Burnaby, BC, Alex Moore of Montreal, Linda Morais of Tecumseh, Ont. and Hannah Taylor of Summerside, PEI join Dhesi of Surrey, BC and Di Stasio of Coquitlam, BC on the team announced Tuesday by the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Di Stasio won a world title in the women's 72 kg class in 2018, as well as gold at the 2019 Pan American Games and gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The 31-year-old took a break from wrestling during the COVID-19 pandemic to pursue a career as a teacher, but returned to the sport to make her Olympic debut in Paris.

Dhesi, 28, is the only Canadian wrestler with Olympic experience after finishing 13th in Tokyo.

The Vancouver Police Department member won gold in the 125 kg class at both the 2022 Pan American Championships and the Commonwealth Games.

“It has been difficult to find words to express the feeling of representing my country, my community and my family at my second Olympic Games, but I keep coming back to the word gratitude,” Dhesi said in a statement.

“I'm grateful for the opportunity to once again be in a position to take home an Olympic medal. I didn't quite make it in Tokyo, but I'm ready to be brave and take the fight.”

Godinez Gonzalez won the women's 62-kilogram class at the 2021 U23 World Championships and silver at the Commonwealth Games the following year.

Moore will compete in the men's 62 kg class, Morais in the women's 68 kg class and Taylor in the women's 57 kg class.

The 30-year-old Morais won a world title in the women's 59 kg class in 2019.

The athletes won their respective weight classes at the national qualifiers in Edmonton in December. Taylor, Godinez Gonzalez, Di Stasio, Moore and Dhesi then secured their tickets to Paris at a Pan-American qualifier in Mexico in March.

Morais secured her place in Paris at a qualifying tournament in Turkey earlier this month.

Since London 1908, the Canadian national team has won 17 Olympic medals in wrestling. Three of them were gold medals: Erica Wiebe (2016), Carol Huynh (2008) and Daniel Igali (2000).

“All four of our wrestlers have won medals on the world stage, including three who held world titles,” said Chris Woodcroft, Wrestling Canada’s high-performance director.

“We look forward to our athletes demonstrating their skills and competing for medals.”

The Olympic wrestling competitions will take place from August 5 to 11 in the Champ de Mars arena.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2024.

The Canadian Press