KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Matt Gentry, a part-time member of the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club, captured the 74kg/163-pound gold medal at the 2012 FILA Pan-American Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Sunday (March 25) at the Silver Spurs Arena. With the performance, Gentry qualified his weight class for Canada and officially punched his ticket to the 2012 London Games.
Gentry posted a perfect 3-0 record and capped the performance with a 6-0, 7-0 technical fall against Puerto Rico’s Francisco Soler in the 74kg championship match. He scored off a quick knee pick in the first period, gutted Soler for four points and ended the frame on another takedown at the midway point before using a pair of takedowns and five exposure points to take the second.
His biggest win of the tournament came in the semifinals, where he used a last-second takedown to complete a 2-1, 0-3, 1-1 comeback decision against Cuba’s Yunierki Blanco. Trailing a point late in the match after Blanco’s double-leg takedown early in the third period, Gentry countered a low-single shot in the closing 20 seconds, pulling his leg out and finishing on a double out of the ensuring scramble to secure the winning point with just seven seconds remaining on the clock. It was his first ever win against the Cuban wrestler.
Gentry was one of four Canadian freestyle wrestlers to earn their Olympic bids with top-two performances, joining David Tremblay (55kg), Haislan Garcia (66kg) and Khetag Pliev (96kg). Gentry, Garcia and Pliev, along with Jeff Adamson, who placed third at 84kg, participated in a CKWC-hosted training camp two weeks prior to the qualifying event.
Matt Gentry, 74kg/163 pounds
First Round – dec. Pool Ambrosio (Peru), W 4-0, 3-0
Semifinals – dec. Yunierki Blanco (Cuba), 2-1,0-3,1-1
Final – tech. fall Francisco Soler (Puerto Rico), 6-0, 7-0
Finished as the 74kg champion with a 3-0 record