From September 10th to 18th, the Senior World Championships were held in Belgrade, Serbia. Under the guidance of coach David Zilberman, The Y sent 5 athletes to compete against the best of the best.
Congratulations to Linda Morais (68kg), Laurence Beauregard (59kg), Vincent Di Marinis (70kg), Alex Moore (86kg), and Jason Luneau (61kg) for their incredible performance.
We would like to highlight Linda Morais, who brought home a bronze medal. Below we take you with us for a recap of Linda’s performance, and a glimpse into the mind of a high-performance athlete!
How do you feel about your performance?
I’m thrilled about my performance. This was my first world championship competing in an Olympic weight class. I’ve always wondered how it would feel wrestling these girls and after this week I was able to prove to myself that I’m able to hold my own against the best in the world. Making the podium on the world stage in an Olympic weight class is surreal and gives me confidence moving forward.
How did you prepare for the championships?
I took a different approach going into this season/competition. During the pandemic, I failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. That loss was absolutely devastating and the stress leading into those qualifiers took a toll on me. Therefore, going into this year’s Nationals and Worlds, I decided to take as much stress off as possible. I recently went up a weight class which helped reduce any weight loss anxiety. Going into the competition, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to hold my own against heavier opponents, but I was excited about this new challenge. In addition, instead of being so focused on the result, I allowed myself to enjoy the moments. The day-to-day training became easier because I no longer worried about the outcome. Instead, I was going into my wrestling practices with the intent of having fun and trying new techniques to keep things interesting. Arriving in Serbia I kept that mentality. I was excited to see how I would wrestle and before each match I reminded myself to just go out there and have fun. I tried my best and was proud of my performance whereas in the past I probably would have been disappointed with anything less than gold.
What was the first thing that crossed your mind when you were announced the winner?
The immediate thought is “holly smokes, we did it”! The best feeling is the minute just after they raised my hand, where I’m able to run over to the corner and hug my coach, Dave. It’s such an emotional moment, he’s already invested 11 years into my athletic development and has put in just as much energy as I. This win is as much his as it is mine and being able to share that moment with him was incredibly special.
If there is anything you could have done differently, what would you have done?
I obviously made tactical errors throughout my matches. One that could have even changed the outcome of my match against Japan – the match I lost in the quarter finals. But in the end, I hope to learn and correct those mistakes and improve. So I’m okay with the way it all played out!
What was the most difficult part of the competition?
The toughest part of competing is always the mental gymnastics you do throughout the event. The tournament starts early in the morning and lasts two days. During that time you’re often left to your own devices and your mind tends to think of every possible negative outcome. So forcing yourself to switch your mindset can be an exhausting process. When I start to doubt myself, I try to remind myself of my strengths. That usually helps calm my mind.
How was Serbia? Were you able to enjoy it outside of the championships?
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to explore much of Serbia. Before competitions, I always try to save as much energy as possible and focus my down time on recovery. And for this trip, as soon as the tournament was over I was already heading off early in the morning to catch my flight. I did however really enjoy my time in Serbia, mostly because of my performance.
What is the next step for you now?
For now, I’ll be taking the next couple weeks off, visiting my family back home in Tecumseh, to let my mind and body recover. My sisters and I have also signed up for a half marathon in October. So I look forward to start my training for that and enjoy a stress free athletic event without any expectations of performance. As for wrestling, I look forward to see what next season has in store.