It came as no surprise to Mission’s Alexia Seal when she heard that Wrestling Canada named her to the Cadet World Championship squad to compete in the 43-kilogram division.
Seal and the rest of the national team head to Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina in less than a week for the competition which runs Aug. 27-30.
“I’m pretty much used to the travelling,” Seal told The Record. “I’m just really excited and looking forward to it.”
The Mission wrestler continues to train out of Coast Wrestling in Burnaby with coach Frank Mensah, who is also one of three coaches on the Wrestling Canada Cadet World Team.
Mensah said preparation for the world championships has been more specialized as of late.
“We have been working with Alexia, targeting specific areas that we identified as needing work,” Mensah said, for instance, defending double-leg takedowns, which Seal had trouble with against her finals opponent in Romania earlier this year.
Seal is currently on a specialized high-protein, low-carb diet. This is not so much to manage weight but to sharpen her body and mind.
“Instead of pizza, it’s grilled chicken. A small bowl of pasta instead of a large one,” explained Mensah. “For a little more muscle.”
The Mission Secondary student most recently secured gold in the Ontario Cup. Modestly, she claimed the feat was not too glamorous.
“There were just four competitors,” she said, “they were familiar opponents I wrestled before in other competitions.”
Seal also competed in the Cadet Pan-American Wrestling Championships in Mexico, July 3-5, where she landed the bronze out of a class of seven wrestlers from around North and South America.
At this year’s national championships in Fredericton, N.B., Seal was the best of her class, securing first place against her fellow Canadian opponents.
She also medaled in two tournaments held in Spain and Romania in May, locking up gold and silver, respectively.
Seal’s medal finishes contrast sharply with her season last year where she hadn’t medalled in any major competition. This season Seal has been a top-three finisher in most of events participated in.
Owing to her success, Mensah explains, is her commitment.
“She lives in Mission but drives four or five days a week, sometimes six, to train out in Burnaby [or] Coquitlam. She gets off school, does her homework on the drive, practices, then does her homework on the drive home,” said Mensah.
Seal has a page at gofundme.com/alexiaseal to help with the cost of the trip to Sarajevo, which is completely borne by each athlete.