Wrestlers from the Montreal Wrestling Club will be competing at the Pan-American games on the last weekend of February.
The team Canada wrestling trials leading to the 2024 Olympic games were held in Edmonton on the weekend of Dec. 15–17. The winners will compete at the Pan-American qualifiers on Feb. 29–March 2 in Acapulco, Mexico. The performances will determine who gets to go to Paris to compete in the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Five members of the Montreal Wrestling Club (MWC) of the National Training Centre, managed by Concordia Stingers wrestling coaches— father-son duo, David Zilberman and Victor Zilberman—had very successful performances. Three wrestlers earned tickets to Mexico, including Linda Morais (68 kg) in women’s freestyle, Alex Moore (86 kg), and Stone Lewis (74 kg) in men’s freestyle.
On Dec. 15, the first day of the competition, matches were held for the pool component, to determine winners who would face other competitors on the ladder. Montreal’s Fred Choquette won the pool decisively at 97 kg by defeating Brampton, Ontario’s Sarabnoor Lally 10-0. He was beaten by his MWC colleague, Riley Otto, in the ladder portion. Otto lost to Abbotsford, B.C.’s Nishan Randhawa in the final ladder matchup. Randhawa will be heading to Mexico, representing Canada in the 97 kg division.
Stingers prodigy and alumnus Alex Moore, the two-time Pan-American junior gold medalist who was elected as the Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament in the USports National Championships last February, was able to qualify for Mexico by beating the Saskatoon Wrestling Club member and Flin Flon, Manitoba native, Hunter Lee.
Moore is more focused on himself and improving bit by bit every day, consistently evolving his game. Rather than worrying about Lee and wrestlers within the country, the young athlete’s sights are set on potential Pan-American opponents. “I’m not preparing for the Canadian guys. I’m preparing for the international guys,” said Moore.
For now, Moore’s main concerns are directed towards preparing to face Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta, Cuba’s 86 kg Pan-American repeat champion as of last November in Santiago, Chile. Moore lost to the Cuban veteran in the Pan-American championship finals last year in Bueno Aires, Argentina. “The big challenge is definitely [Torreblanca]. He’s pretty jacked. You never know with the draw… but I don’t want to leave with the chance that I qualify or not. I want to prepare in a way that I’m able to beat everyone in the [division],” Moore said.
After Edmonton, Moore was able to take a break for about a week when he returned home, a rarity for wrestlers, who usually train for about six hours a day, six days a week. “Getting back into the groove of things is so hard, because you have such a strict schedule and you’re pushing really hard and it’s almost easier to just keep going and then to stop,” he said. “But I think it’s necessary to get a mental break from it. I got to see some friends and stuff, so it was nice.”
Moore will be participating in the Brock Open, Guelph Open, and Western Open to stay in shape for Acapulco. The events take place on Jan. 14, 21, and 28, respectively.
The three qualified athletes are back in training, and are devising new plans with coach Zilberman to win at the highest level on this side of the Atlantic.