Hannah Tuplin’s first time wrestling for Canada on the world stage went about as well as she could have hoped.
Earlier this month, the Crofton wrestler won a bronze medal for her country in the 49kg division at the Cadet Pan Am Championships in Lima, Peru.
“It was my goal to get in the top three, so I achieved my goal,” said Tuplin, who finished third out of eight wrestlers in her category and helped Canada finish first in the overall women’s standings.
Tuplin won her second straight national championship in April, earning a berth on the national team at a separate tournament the following day.
“I was more confident going into this tournament than nationals,” Tuplin said.
Tuplin had three matches in Peru. She opened the meet with a 4-0 win by fall over Mercedes Caballero Orozco of the host country. Tuplin lost her next match to Irlanda Ortega Moya of Mexico, but defeated Evelyn Santos of Brazil 8-2 by fall to win bronze.
Competing against athletes from other countries was among the highlights of Tuplin’s experience.
“It was cool,” she said. “Every country wrestles very differently.”
Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club head coach Nick Zuback was pleased to see Tuplin compete on the world stage.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” he said. “She’s been training hard all year, and that hard work and time and effort is paying off. To place on an international scale is a big deal.”
Tuplin is the second CVWC athlete to compete internationally — following Maegan Kuruvita, who attended the Cadet World Championships in Azerbaijan in 2012 — and the first to win a medal, and Zuback hopes younger wrestlers will follow in her footsteps.
“The future kids who wrestle will look to her as a role model and try to match or do better than her accomplishments,” he said. “And it shows that it doesn’t matter if you come from a big city or a small town, if you put the time and effort into something, you can accomplish anything.”
Tuplin has represented the province before, at the Western Canada Summer Games in 2015, but it’s a whole new thing to wrestle for Canada.
“To represent your country, when any athlete gets that opportunity, it’s obviously a good feeling,” Zuback said. “To carry that on your shoulders is a big deal, not to mention the memories she’s going to have from going to Peru.”
Visiting Peru was an eye-opener for the Chemainus Secondary student, who will begin Grade 11 this fall.
“It was different than I thought it would be,” she said. “There was lots of smog, not a lot of sun exposure. There was lots of street food. Don’t eat too many churros, though.”
Tuplin spent nine days in Lima, following up the Pan Am tournament with a training camp where wrestlers from several countries were evaluated on their potential for competing in the Cadet World Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia, in September. Tuplin is hoping she gets the call to wrestle for Canada at that competition as well.
“That would be neat,” she said. “It depends what they think I’m capable of. I think it would be a very good experience, as long as I’m ready to go.”