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Canada’s Team at the Senior World Championships

Guangzhou, China – September 26 to October 1, 2006 - The 2006 World Championships in Guangzhou will feature the top wrestlers in the world competing in the three styles of Men’s Freestyle, Women’s and Men’s Greco Roman. Canada will enter full teams in both the Men’s Freestyle and Women’s disciplines and will be represented by Ari Taub of Calgary in the Greco Roman.

Competition begins in Greco Roman on September 26th with men’s freestyle beginning on September 27th and women’s competition on September 29th.

The website for the Championships is guangzhou.fila-wrestling.com which should be updated regularly by the host organizing committee.

Following are brief thumbnail descriptions of each of Canada’s World Team members. The Women’s Team has four returning members from last year including medallists; Carol Huynh, Tonya Verbeek and Martine Dugrenier. On the Men’s FS Team we have only two team members with previous World Championship experience (Japaridze and Cross) with the other five team members experiencing their first World Championships.

Men’s Freestyle Team

Misha Japaridze55kg – Misha Japaridze – Montreal Wrestling Club - Misha is returning to the World Championships after a one year absence. He is looking for his best finish ever in China. He has been training hard under Coach Victor Zilberman and has a Canada Cup 2nd place and a silver medal finish at the Romanian International tournament last month.

Saeed Azarbayjani60kg – Saeed Azarbayjani – Brock Wrestling Club - This is Saeed’s second trip to the Senior Worlds for Canada. Saeed has been very close to Gia Sissaouri (2001 World Champion) throughout the years and now that Gia has stepped out this year to focus on the 2008 Olympics, Saeed has a chance to see where he stands against the best in the World in Guangzhou, China. Under the strong guidance of head coach Marty Calder, Saeed is training to make a name on the world stage. Saeed is an agile, explosive wrestler that can shock any opponent. Earlier this year he won the gold medal at the Pan American Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Cleo Ncube66kg – Cleo Ncube – Brock Wrestling Club - Cleo won the Senior Nationals in Saskatoon, SK this year, but was scheduled to wrestle-off against national team member Evan MacDonald (8th at worlds last year). Due to complications with a nagging injury, Evan had to step aside leaving Cleo as the World Team member. Cleo will be making his first trip to the Senior World Championships and is focused on making a statement. He is a very skilled/technical wrestler with lots of “cat like” skills. Look for him to cause some problems for his opponents.

Matt Gentry74kg – Matt Gentry – British Columbia - Matt came north to Canada to compete at his first Canadian Senior Nationals last May and won the World Team position. Matt is a very tenacious wrestler and will bring his aggressive style to the world stage for the first time. He wrestled strongly at both the Pan American Championships and World University Championships and is doing well in his first international season.

Travis Cross84kg – Travis Cross – Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club -Travis is making another run at the Worlds this year. He is a dynamic wrestler with a very aggressive style. Travis hopes to better his result from last year and has been training very hard to achieve this. He finished third at the recent Romanian International and was a bronze medallist at the Pan American Championships earlier this year.

David Zilberman96kg – David Zilberman – Montreal Wrestling Club - David is having a great year, he has competed well winning the Senior nationals, then the FISU trials and then representing Canada at the University Worlds where he placed second. Under the guidance of his father (Montreal WC Head Coach Victor Zilberman) David will be ready to compete in China.

Jamie Cox120kg – Jamie Cox – Guelph Wrestling Club - Coached by his father, former Olympian Doug Cox, Jamie is making his debut at the Senior World Championships. Jamie is young and looking to apply some of his explosive abilities against the world’s best. Jamie is an upper body threat and will use it to his advantage. Gaining valuable experience in both the area of preparation and international competition are the main goals for Jamie this year.

Women’s Team

Carol Huynh48kg – Carol Huynh – Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club - Carol won the FILA Golden Grand Prix finals this year, a big boost for her season. She was also second at the World Cup. She has won three World Championship medals during her career including a bronze last year in Budapest. She has been very dominant this year and is hoping to add the illusive gold to here World collection.

Lyndsay Belisle51kg – Lyndsay Belisle – Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club – Lyndsay was a member of the 2004 Olympic Team and has had consistent top eight finishes at the World Championships. She has won the Warsaw Cup and the Pan Am Championships earlier this year. Lindsey is hoping to make a statement this year and brings a ton of ability to the tourney. Look for her to shake up the weight class.

Tonya Verbeek55kg – Tonya Verbeek – Brock Wrestling Club - Tonya is coming into the tourney being ranked in the top 3 in the world. She is the 2004 Olympic silver medalist and 2005 World Championship bronze medallist and has consistently been in the top 3 at all the world events. This season she has won the 2006 Canada Cup, 2006 France Golden Grand Prix, 2006 Dave Schultz and was 3rd at the World cup. Tonya is one of the most talented athletes in the weight class and if she can put it all together she can beat anyone.

Breanne Graham59kg – Breanne Graham – Univ. of Calgary Wrestling Club - Breanne has done well this year, placing 3rd at the 2006 France Golden Grand Prix, 3rd 2006 Canada Cup, and a huge achievement with a 2nd at the World University Championships. Currently ranked 8th in the world, Breanne is a threat and can beat anyone if in the right frame of mind. Watch for her to create some upsets.

Megan Dolan63kg – Megan Dolan – Brock Wrestling Club - Megan is new to the World Team. After winning the 2006 Senior Nationals she had to wrestle off against former national team member Tara Hedican (former Junior World Champion) in August. Megan was victorious in their best of 3 match. She will take her first step on the World Championship stage and will bring her fire and determination to the Championships. Megan has trained very hard under the guidance of Marty Calder and with the inspiration that she gets from fellow teammate and national team member Tonya Verbeek. Megan will be the underdog, but this is where she will do best, watch for her to surprise her opponents.

Martine Dugrenier67kg – Martine Dugrenier – Montreal Wrestling Club - Martine has had a very good year. She has been quite dominant in the tournaments that she has entered. She has compiled a result list of 3rd at the 2006 University Worlds, 2nd at the Canada Cup(63kg) and 1st at the Trophee Milone Tourney. Martine has the ability to beat anyone across from her. She is very tenacious and wrestles with power. Watch for her to be in the medals.

Ohenawa Akuffo72kg – Ohenawa Akuffo – Guelph Wrestling Club - Ohenawa has had a strong season to date having beat some of the best wrestlers in the world and is currently ranked 2nd by the FILA. Just recently Ohenawa defeated the 2004 Olympic champion to win the 2006 Canada Cup. She also won the 2006 World Cup. Ohenawa is a very talented wrestler, who depends on her power and strength to dominate opponents. She is a threat from many different positions and will be one to watch out for at this year’s Word Championships.

Men’s Greco Roman

Ari Taub120kg – Ari Taub – Univ. of Calgary Wrestling Club – Ari is a multiple National Champion and has competed at the Pan American Championships and Poland Open this season in addition to many freestyle competitions. He has trained hard for this event and is looking to attain success against the strong field of wrestlers that will be at the World Championships.

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