Thursday, August 9, 2012

NEWS: Wrestler Battsetseg Soronzonbold wins Bronze medal

Originally posted on Toronto Sun on August 8, 2012
by Steve Buffery

Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia, celebrates winning her 63-kg women's freestyle wrestling bronze medal match against Martine Dugrenier of Canada
LONDON - If there were an Olympic medal for hard luck, Montreal wrestler Martine Dugrenier would be queen of the mat.

As it is, the three-time world champion walked away from her second straight Olympics with a loss in the 63 kg bronze medal match and placed fifth.

The hard luck started with the random draw. Dugrenier drew two-time Olympic champion Kaori Icho of Japan in the first round, lost and was relegated to the repechage, where she beat 2009 world junior champion Henna Johansson of Sweden. But she then met another former world champ in the bronze medal match, and though she gave it her all against Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia, she came up just one win short of a bronze again — the same scenario from four years previous.

Her match against Soronzonbold ended 3-0 in the Mongolian’s favor. Dugrenier tried to score points via single leg takedowns, but each time Soronzonbold’s counters were just too good.

Bronze medalist Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia, participates in the awards ceremony
Afterwards, the 33-year wrestler struggled hard not to break down.

“It’s hard,” said Dugrenier, her voice breaking. “To be so close ...”

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Dugrenier had a one point lead on American Randi Miller late in the third and final round of the bronze medal match. With just four seconds left, Miller scored one point to tie it. The match ended 1-1, with Miller earning the win as she scored the last point.

“That’s why this job, man, it kills me,” said Canadian wrestling team coach Leigh Vierling. “It takes two years off my life every time. Because as much as I’m happy for Carol (Huynh) ... you just think, why couldn’t it happen for that kid?”

Earlier in the evening, Huynh of Hazelton, B.C. won a bronze in the 48kg class.

Perhaps it would happen for Dugrenier if she could compete in her proper weight class. She competes in the 67kg weight class at world championships, but because there are fewer weight classes at the Olympics, she has to go up or down a weight class. She chose to go down. Losing four kilograms is a tough challenge for any world class wrestler or boxer. But Dugrenier, to her credit, wouldn’t use that as an excuse and plans to head to the world championships in September at 67kg and win another title.

“I worked hard over the past four years,” she said. “That was my dream, to get an Olympic medal here. It didn’t happen, but I guess that it’s not the end of life.”

Word List:
  • random: done, chosen, etc. without somebody deciding in advance what is going to happen, or without any regular pattern
  • relegated: to give somebody a lower or less important position, rank, etc. than before
  • repechage: a match in which first-round losers are given another chance to qualify for the semifinals
  • counters: a response to somebody/something that opposes their ideas, position, etc