Brock athletes lead Canada to podium at Olympic Games
Aug. 22, 2008
Two of our four Brock-connected athletes earned Olympic medals at the Beijing games. Tonya Verbeek earned her second Olympic medal, a bronze, by defeating Ida-Theres Nerell of Sweden in 55-kg women's freestyle wrestling.
The lightweight men's four rowing team, which includes Brock graduate Iain Brambell, came out strong, struggled in the middle, but hung on for a bronze-medal finish.
Fourth-year Brock student Brady Reardon's boat placed third in their semifinal, and advanced to the final in the men's K-4 1000m kayak event where they placed eighth, out of medal contention. Brock wrestler Saeed Azarbayjani was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 60-kg men's freestyle competition.
Tonya Verbeek won bronze by defeating Ida-Theres Nerell of Sweden by a score of 1-0, 1-0 in one of two bronze-medal matches. Verbeek was eliminated from gold medal contention after she dropped a tough semifinal bout to the eventual gold medallist, Japan's Saori Yoshida. It was Yoshida who beat her four years ago to win gold in Athens.
Iran's Seyedmorad Mohammadi eliminated Canada's Saeed Azerbayjani in a close quarterfinal bout, winning 1-0, 1-0.
Azerbayjani, of the Brock Wrestling Club, won his first match 1-0, 3-0, over Armenia's Martin Berberyan.
Beijing marks the first Olympic Games for Azerbayjani, who won gold at the 2006 Pan American championships and placed 28th at the 2007 world championships. He is joined in Beijing by Brock's men's wrestling coach Marty Calder (a two-time Olympian himself), who is serving as an assistant coach to the National team.
The quartet of Iain Brambell, Jon Beare, Mike Lewis and Liam Parsons went all out to pass Great Britain for the bronze medal behind the winner, Denmark, and runner-up, Poland in the men's lightweight four rowing. Canada led early, struggled in the middle of the race to fall to fourth, then turned on the race's fastest final 500 metres to reach the podium.
"We were fourth at the last two world championships. We stood on the wooden nickel outside of the medals and it was about time we stepped in," Brambell said.
MEN'S K-4 1000
The hard-charging Canadians edged out their Australian rivals at the wire to place third and claim a spot in the final. The Canadian team fought valiantly to place a respectable eighth place in the final. The team includes Rhys Hill, Angus Mortimer, Chris Pellini and Brady Reardon.