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March 15, 2001 Big Mat Attack: Wrestlers win medals at Nationals






Tamara Medwidsky

Tamara Medwidsky


Jason Chen

Jason Chen

Photos by Derek Dugas

by John Austen

They may not be as popular as WWF stars The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin but a pair of Concordia wrestlers came just a hair away from gold-medal victories earlier this month at the CIAU Wrestling Championships in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Tamara Medwidsky won a silver medal in the 70-kilo weight class, while Jason Chen took bronze in the 68-kilo class at the finals, held at Lakehead University.

Medwidsky, 26, won a gold medal in the 65-kilo class weight class last year. She also took gold in the 1999 event. The MBA student has had a good season, finishing first at tournaments held at Queen’s University and the University of Western Ontario.

In 1998 she represented Canada at the World Championships in Poland, and finished seventh. Her career objective is to win the world championship and represent Canada at the Olympics, should women’s wrestling become an Olympic sport.

Chen, 25, defeated Matt Farrell from the University of Calgary for the bronze.

“I should have been in the gold-medal match but I got robbed by a bad call,” said Chen. “Normally, the officiating is dependable, but this was terrible. Apparently [the referee] is getting demoted. He cost me a great shot at the gold, but what are you going to do?”

Coach Victor Zilberman, who has racked up six national championships since taking over the Concordia program in 1977, says both his star wrestlers were superior to their opponents.

“Both Tamara and Jason work very hard and they were the best wrestlers in their respective weight classes,” he said. “Maybe they were a bit nervous, but they should have both won gold.”

Chen says he wasn’t at his best at the championships. “I got the flu, so that slowed me down a bit,” he said. “I was really disappointed at the final results — we all were.”

Other Concordia results were: Martine Dugrenier, fifth, 65 kilos; Mark Roache, seventh, 90 kilos; and Chris Chung, eighth, 82 kilos.

With just three wrestlers, Concordia accumulated nine points and finished 12th out of 16 teams in the men’s standings. Brock University finished in first place with 60 points. With Medwidsky and Dugrenier representing the women, Concordia earned 12 points and finished ninth out of 13 teams. University of Calgary was first overall with 54 points.

Zilberman says that wrestling is the “best sport around,” and hopes to see some new recruits join the program.

“We were winning all the time in the 80s and we’d like to get to that point again,” he said. “This form of wrestling doesn’t always get the respect and support that it deserves. It’s great for a person’s all-around development and well-being.”