Anaka Chartrand is a bronze medallist. The wrestler hailing from Saint Laurent came in third in the female 60kg weight class at the Canada Summer Games in Niagara, Ontario. The 15-year-old was one of the youngest competitors at the event, and she says many of the girls she faced were already in university.
"I'm really proud of how I competed and how everything went, even though I didn't come out with the gold medal. I was still proud of how I competed against the older girls and some tough competition. I'm happy that I went and gave it my all."
Chartrand won five of her seven matches at the Canada Summer Games and was the only person to put up a point against the gold medal winner (Gabriela Cross).
The local wrestler says the biggest challenge she faced at the tournament was her lack of experience compared to the other girls, however, she adds taking part in nationals along with the Team Canada trials prepared her quite well.
The next time Chartrand steps on the mat, she will do so with added confidence, knowing she is taking on wrestlers her own age again. The 15-year-old describes what goes through her mind leading up to a match.
"I try to clear my brain and think about all my techniques. I make a gameplan in my head of how I think the match is going to go, how I want the match to go, and the best way to control everything."
She notes, more often than not, the matches go according to her gameplan.
"I think, 'I'm going to go in there, and this is what I'm going to do.' And then I go in there and do it," Chartrand continues. "Sometimes it depends on how my opponent reacts to what I do. So, sometimes it goes a different way, but a lot of the time, it goes as I planned."
Chartrand says, despite her excellent performance, she learned a lot from the mistakes she did make at the games.
"After you lose, the hardest part about it is to pull yourself, and all your emotions, together," says Chartrand. "You have to be able to put that behind you and get ready for your next match. So, I feel like that's something I've started learning to do, which will help me in my next competitions."
The wrestler adds she will be taking some time off ahead of her next competition, which will be the trials for the North American Indigenous Games in October.