Danielle Lappage

Canada wins four more medals on the mat

All that Tamerlan Tagziev wanted to do was make his adopted homeland proud. He succeeded in impressive fashion at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday. The Russian-born freestyle wrestler arrived in Canada five years ago, and won his first international gold medal for his new country with a dominant victory in the men’s 86-kilogram division final.

GLASGOW — All that Tamerlan Tagziev wanted to do was make his adopted homeland proud.

He succeeded in impressive fashion at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday.

The Russian-born freestyle wrestler arrived in Canada five years ago, and won his first international gold medal for his new country with a dominant victory in the men’s 86-kilogram division final.

Still trying to catch his breath after the match, Tagziev pointed to the Maple Leaf on his chest as the reason for his 14-4 manhandling of Nigeria’s Andrew Dick.

“It’s a big deal to represent our country. I’m proud of being Canadian,” said the 32-year-old who lives in Toronto. “I’m so happy that I can make all Canadians happy.

“I’m so proud. The national anthem (played) for me.”

Tagziev’s gold came on the heels Danielle Lappage’s earlier victory in the women’s 63-kilogram division and capped a great event on the mat for Canada on a day that also saw Brittanee Laverdure and Jevon Balfour win silver medals.

Canadian wrestlers finished with 12 medals — a Games-high seven gold along with two silver and three bronze — in Glasgow, tied with Nigeria and behind only India’s 13 (five gold, six silver, two bronze).

Elsewhere, Canada won three additional gold medals Thursday. Montreal diver Meaghan Benfeito won her second gold of the Games in the women’s 10-metre platform. Gymnast Scott Morgan of North Vancouver, B.C., won gold in the men’s rings event and Montreal’s George Kobaladze the men’s 105-plus kilogram weightlifting event.

Canada is third in the medal standings after eight days of competition with 65 medals (27 gold, 13 silver, 25 bronze). England leads with 123 medals and Australia is second with 113.

In the men’s 63 kg final, Dick jumped out to an early 4-2 lead in the first round against Tagziev, but the native of Beslan, Russia, quickly countered to score 12 straight points.

“I knew I was going to beat him easy,” said Tagziev. “He surprised me (early), but I was sure I was going to beat him.”

India’s Pawan Kumar and South Africa’s Armando Heitbrink split the bronze medals.

Meanwhile, Lappage defeated India’s Geetika Jakhar 7-0 in the women’s 63-kilogram final to also cap off her first Commonwealth Games in style.

“It was awesome. The Games experience, the whole thing was just incredible,” said the 23-year-old from Olds, Alta. “The crowd was amazing. I’ve never wrestled in front of this many excited people before.”

Lappage and Jakhar got off to a tentative start in their bout before the Canadian scored six points in the second round to seal the victory.

“I think that I was just really nervous and hesitant to make a mistake at the beginning,” said Lappage. “As I warmed up I started to calm down a bit.

“There was built up excitement and nervousness. I feel relieved. I’m really excited.”

Cameroon’s Blandine Metala Epanga and Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu won bronze.

Earlier in the day, Laverdure suffered a nasty hand injury in the closing moments of her loss in the women’s 55-kilogram division final to India’s Babita Kumari.

“I looked down and the finger was poking out of the skin,” said the 32-year-old Calgary lawyer, who shrugged off the pain to accept her silver along with bronze medallists Louisa Porogovska of England and Ifeoma Nwoye of Nigeria.

Laverdure, who also hurt her shoulder last year and only got back competing in March, found herself down 5-0 halfway through the match before falling 9-2.

“For me it was a slow start because I shouldn’t give up the first four or six points because they take the points and shut down,” she said, before adding: “I’m happy with a silver.”

Canada’s other podium finish in wrestling came by way of Balfour, who dropped the men’s 65-kilogram final to defending Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt of India by a score of 10-0 in the first round.

“I knew he was a good wrestler,” said 19-year-old from Brampton, Ont.

“I don’t know if that got to me or not, but he’s a good wrestler. Obviously he knew what he needed to do.

“I know what I need to work on. I need to train harder.”

Sampson Clarkson of Nigeria and Scotland’s Alex Gladkov settled for bronze.

Balfour said that despite the disappointment of his final match in Scotland, he was pleased with his first Games.

“My personal goal was to medal. If I didn’t medal, I would be pretty upset at myself,” he said. “I don’t like going to a competition, coming all this way, and not getting on that podium.”

Elsewhere, Benfeito won the 10-metre platform with a combined score of 372.65 points, while Roseline Filion of Laval, Que., tool bronze with 361.80. The pair combined for a gold medal in the 10-metre synchro platform earlier in the Games.

“It can’t get any better than winning two gold medals at your last competition of the season,” Benfeito said. “I had a really tough morning in preliminaries. To come out on top is absolutely amazing.”

Fiion said she exceeded her expectations to cap her best season internationally on individual tower.

“Coming out with 361 points and a bronze medal is absolutely amazing,” she said. “It was a tough competition with many of the world’s best and I’m pleased with my achievement. I just wanted to do good dives in the final and do a better score than in preliminaries. I knew if I did that I stood a good shot at a medal.”

Morgan and teammate Kevin Lytwyn of Stoney Creek, Ont., finished first and second respectively in the men’s rings.

“It was spectacular to get up there on the podium and hear the Canadian anthem,” said Morgan.“It’s something you dream about as an athlete.”

Ellie Black of Halifax finished second in the women’s vault.

“I’ve been a little bit disappointed with my previous performances but that always helps you to keep going and be stronger,” said Black.

“I just tried to have a good attitude coming in to the finals today and it definitely worked.”

Kobaladze won gold by lifting a Commonwealth Games record total of 400 kilograms — 171 kg in the snatch and 229 kg in the clean and jerk.

“I was more confident for the last lift than for the first attempt. I started slowly with a lighter weight, but when I saw I had a chance for a gold medal it became easier for me,” Kobaladze said. “It was always a dream for me to finish first, because my father was a very good weightlifter and I always wanted to show him I could become a champion.

“It’s the first time I’ve won at this high level international competition. At 38 years old, I’ve used maybe my last chance.”

Elsewhere, Diane Roy of Sherbrooke, Que., won silver in the women’s 1,500 metre T4 wheelchair, Alex Dupont of St. Remi, Que., won bronze in the men’s 1,500 wheelchair and Christabel Netty of Surrey, B.C., won bronze in the women’s long jump.

Just Posted

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month