Mumbai: The last time Canada’s Erica Wiebe stepped onto a mat, she beat Kazakhstan’s Guzel Manyurova to clinch the 75 kg freestyle wrestling gold at the Rio Olympics.
While Dangal, a movie on Indian female wrestlers is making waves across India, the reigning Olympic champion spoke to us.
The 27-year-old grappler is not a fan of finishing third and never settles for the second position. The Canadian went on a 36-match winning streak in 2014, including winning the gold at the Commonwealth Games, she also won the gold at Golden Grand Prix in 2015.
Wiebe is in India to participate in Pro Wrestling League season two, as part of Mumbai Maharathi. The wrestler is excited to be in India and to show off her skill in front of Indian crowd.
“I am so excited to be in India and to participate in PWL season two,” said Wiebe. “To be in India and to wrestle in a league in front of thousands of people, it’s like doing what I love to do.”
The Olympic champion has the world at her feet, but she's not ready to sit back and relax. Wiebe is eyeing a win at the World Wrestling Championships.
“I have never won a World Championship medal, so I would love to win that competition. There’s still a lot to do, I don’t wrestle to win tournaments, I wrestle because I truly love wrestling, so I am wrestling to figure out how good I can be,” said the confident Canadian.
Wiebe pointed out that she’s hungrier than ever and it’s this desire that keeps her going.
“I am more motivated than ever. I feel and see so many things that I need to work on as I am wrestling. It’s like my eyes have opened up to a lot of new things since I won the Olympic gold. The internal desire and motivation is stronger than ever,” she said.
Wiebe said PWL has helped India wrestlers to improve their game, and bring money into the sport.
Sakshi Malik, who was part of Mumbai Maharathi in season one, later went on to become the first Indian female wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics.
“Mumbai Maharathi last year had Sakshi Malik and then she went on to win an Olympic medal at the summer games, It has helped in raising the calibre of India wrestlers and to put Indian on the world wrestling map.
“It brings an amazing opportunity for overseas athletes to wrestle in a country, where wrestling is part of their culture. There’s a huge financial incentive for us, there’s no other competition in the world that even comes close to the financial reward that we get for participating in this league.” added Wiebe.
For aspiring wrestlers, she said, “Just keep going, embrace the fears that you have and face them head on. The focus should be on getting better everyday and for that it’s important to continue wrestling.”...