GOLD COAST, Australia — Canadian wrestler Michelle Fazzari had hoped for gold at the Commonwealth Games. She left in a wheelchair with a silver medal around her neck.
The 30-year-old from Hamilton positioned her leg awkwardly early in Saturday's gold-medal match in the 62-kilogram class against defending champion Aminat Adeniyi. The weight of the attacking Nigerian didn't help.
Fazzari remained down, pounding the mat in obvious pain. Oblivious, Adeniyi wildly celebrated her gold medal, jumping into her coach's arms and running around with the Nigerian flag as the Canadian received medical attention to her right knee.
Fazzari, a bronze medallist at the 2017 world championships, had to be helped backstage. She came out to the medal ceremony on crutches with a giant wrapping on the knee. Backstage at the Carrara Sports Arena, a wheelchair awaited.
"It just exploded," Fazzari said of her knee. "I don't know exactly what happened yet and I'll just wait for our medical team to diagnose it."
Jessica MacDonald (50 kilograms) and Korey Jarvis (125-plus) also won silver, bringing the wrestling team's medal count to 10 (two golds, five silver, three bronze).
Canada won 12 medals (7-2-3) four years ago at the games in Glasgow.
"Overall this was not our best performance," said head coach Tonya Verbeek, a three-time Olympic medallist and silver medal-winner at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. "We had some really great performances and some good wins but we also had some losses there that made us realize we need to be better in certain positions.
"It identifies areas that we need to improve on and this is ideally why we are here," she added.
Corrections will hopefully be made in time for the world championships in Budapest in October.
"This was not our peak performance and we knew that coming in," said Verbeek.
Earlier, Erica Wiebe of Stittsville, Ont., who trains out of Calgary, defended her 76-kilogram crown and Diana Weicker, a mother of two and part-time pediatrics nurse at a St Catharines, Ont., hospital, turned heads by winning the 53-kilogram class.
Fazzari, MacDonald and Jarvis wrestled in a round-robin format given there were not enough athletes in their weight class to form a bracket.
Fazzari had beaten opponents from New Zealand, India and Cameroon before her knee buckled. The knee had been an issue before and she had not competed since the fall.
"It's been a battle for her to get healthy ... We hope that's not as bad as we think at this moment and hope that she gets back on her feet and health again," Verbeek said of the injury.
Jarvis, a 31-year-old from Elliot Lake, Ont., beat a wrestler from Cameroon and won by walkover over a Nigerian before losing to eventual gold medallist Sumit of India. Jarvis, the defending champion, took out his frustration on Tayab Raza, bundling the smaller Pakistani to the mat to win silver.
"I finally felt like I actually got my game wrestling in that match," said Jarvis, whose day job is welding. "The other matches I was kind of flat-footed and kind of fell into getting lulled by their defence and not really getting my offence going — just trying to stay in the match not take over the match."
MacDonald, a bronze medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, lost to India's Vinesh Vinesh. Ranked No. 2 in the world, Vinesh raced into an early 8-0 lead.
"Sometimes it's hard to recuperate when you've given up that much," said MacDonald, who needed some repairs to a cut over her eye.
"I cut my eye open. No biggie," she added.
Alex Moore, 20, of Montreal lost the bronze-medal match to India's Somveer, giving up points late in a 7-3 loss.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press