Argentina’s Linda Marilina Machuca was defeated by Cuba’s Milaimys de la Cari Marin Potrille in the women’s freestyle 73kg gold medal match, the last of five women’s freestyle events on day 7 at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.
There were also gold medals for USA’s Emily Shilson in the women’s freestyle 43kg, Sweden’s Emma Jonna Malmgren in the 49kg category, Japan’s Nonoka Ozaki in the 57kg and China’s Xinru Zhou in the 65kg, in what was a thrilling day in the Asia Pavilion.
Shilson was the first wrestling gold medal winner of the day thanks to a dramatic-high scoring match against India’s Simran Simran. Simran managed to earn 6 points, more than any other competitor had managed against 17-year-old Shilson, but it wasn’t enough to stop the eventual winner. Shilson accumulated 11 points, including nine in a sensational first period, to fend off Simran’s late rally.
Azerbaijan’s Shahana Nazarova defeated Mongolia’s Enkhzul Batbaatar 7-6 in a close-fought match for the bronze medal.
Malmgren won the freestyle 49kg class by virtue of victory by fall against Uzbekistan’s Shokhida Akhmedova, and she celebrated by throwing herself into her father’s arms in the stands.
The 17-year-old could not hold back the tears as she explained how sport for her is like therapy.
“I have trained so damn hard for this, it’s completely insane,” she said. “This is the thing in life that keeps me going, this is what I live for.
“I love to do the sport, but I also see it as therapy to go down to the training hall. If something has happened, that’s where I am.
I love the feeling of being completely exhausted after a training session and to have something to strive for.Emma Jonna Malmgren Sweden
Onoka’s victory in the 57kg category against Hungary’s Anna Hella Szel was emphatic. The 15-year-old Japanese wrestler raced to an eight-point lead in the first period and registered 10 points without reply in total to finish top of the podium.
Germany’s Anastasia Blayvas beat Macedonia’s Irina Ringaci 6-3 in the bronze medal match.
There was another clean sweep in the gold medal match of the 65kg category. China’s Zhou registering 10 points in the first period to win by technical superiority at the expense of Ukraine’s Oksana Chudyk.
Mongolia’s Oyun-Erdene Tamir won a bronze medal thanks to her 15-4 technical victory against Nigeria’s Sunmisola Idowu Balogun.
Few match-ups proved as intriguing as the 79kg category, though, as a noisy home crowd attempted to inspire Machuca to victory in the last event of the day. Cuban 17-year-old Marin Potrille won 4-0 and victory by fall. Japan’s Yuka Kagami defeated Bulgaria’s Kseniya Dzibuk in the bronze medal match 3-0.
The 79kg category had earlier provided further inspiration earlier thanks to Canada’s Anika White, who had left the mat teary-eyed in eighth place after having been beaten by eventual winner Marin Potrille.
White, who suffered from crippling anxiety before taking up wrestling and who was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), now wants to show other young people how sport can help them find respite from mental health issues.
“It’s so powerful to see what hard work can take you away from. Just six years ago I used to sit in bed and cry for hours. I couldn’t move.”
“I have ADHD, but this sport and everyone supporting it has helped me, because you kind of have to use your anxiety. When I’ve been too overwhelmed to train I’ve had coaches who have felt that it’s just something that I should get over. They think it’s just nerves, but I’m like, ‘No, I can’t move right now’,” she said.
“It’s just part of life. It’s just going to make things a little bit harder for the people who have anxiety, but it doesn’t mean that you’re broken - it doesn’t mean that you can’t move on.”
The wrestling action concludes on Sunday 14 October with the men’s freestyle competition.