Historic medal for Brazil! Giullia Penalber defeated Canadian Hannah Taylor this Thursday (2) and won the gold medal in the under-57kg wrestling category at the Pan de Santiago-2023. It is only the second time that a Brazilian has reached the highest place on the podium in this discipline at the Pan American Games.
Giullia Penalber equals Joice Silva, who won Brazil’s first and so far only gold in wrestling at the Pan American Games. It was in Toronto-2015, in the under-58kg category. In addition to these two gold medals, the country has accumulated another 13 podiums in Pans, with six silvers and seven bronzes. In Lima-2019, Giullia herself had been bronze.
Furthermore, Giullia became only the third Brazilian woman to reach a wrestling final at Pans. In addition to Joice, Aline Silva competed in the final in Guadalajara-2011, obtaining silver in the under-72kg category. Wrestling has been part of the Pan American Games program since its first edition, in Buenos Aires-1951, but women were only included in Santo Domingo-2003.
Giullia Penalber’s campaign
To win the gold, Giullia had a three-victory campaign. Before the final, she had passed the American Xochitl Mota-Pettis and the Cuban Angela Alvarez, both by collision. In the big decision, she met Hannah Taylor, in a repeat of the 2020 Pan-American final, and, just as happened that time, the Brazilian came out on top after a tight fight.
The Brazilian opened the scoring in the first minute, but the Canadian managed to equalize before the end of the first half of the fight. The Canadian received a point at the beginning of the second half, after the Brazilian stepped outside the combat area, but soon after, Giullia managed to take her down, taking the lead 6-3. Taylor managed to tie the duel, but the Brazilian had the advantage and came out victorious.
Former judoka, Giullia Penalber is from Rio de Janeiro and is 31 years old. She has already been two-time Pan-American wrestling champion (2020 and 2021) and was runner-up this year. The fighter is seeking her first participation in the Olympic Games and will need to be among the two best athletes in the Pre-Olympics of the Americas, in March next year, to go to Paris-2024.
São Paulo-Mineiro-Northeastern journalist. Eternal traveler. I watched Rio-2016 on site when I was 14 years old and covered Tokyo-2020.