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Burnaby's Justina Di Stasio earns spot on Canada's 2022 Commonwealth Games wrestling squad

The games are scheduled for July 28 to August 8, 2022, in Birmingham England.
Burnaby wrestler Justina Di Stasio has been selected to represent Canada at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in England.

Justina Di Stasio's already impressive résumé is growing once again. 

The pride of Burnaby was one of a dozen wrestlers named to Canada's national team that'll head to the United Kingdom later this summer for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Commonwealth Sport Canada (CSC) and Wrestling Canada Lutte (WCL) unveiled the roster today (June 14) that included four other B.C. athletes.

The games are scheduled for July 28 to Aug. 8 in Birmingham, England. 

"It means a lot to me to be back with the National Team, after the past two years, and I am so excited to be part of the Commonwealth Games team," Di Stasio said in a in a news release.

"Besides the Olympics, this was the only other big event I haven’t been to and something I was hoping to be able to participate in before I finish my wrestling career." 

"The last two years have been challenging for our sport due to the pandemic, but after seeing this team, a great mix of international veterans and some of the country’s future stars in the sport, compete at the Canadian Wrestling Trials in May, we know they are ready for these Games and will bring home some great performances," adds WCL executive director Tamara Medwidsky in the announcement.

Di Stasio has several medals to her name, including gold at the 2018 World Championships, gold at the 2019 Pan-American Games and four more gold from past Pan-American Championships. 

"My goal for the competition is to compete hard and execute the gameplan that my coaches have for me," the 29-year-old adds. 

"That is a big goal of mine this summer, to stay focused and stick to my gameplan in whatever situations happen during my matches. I am just so excited to be back in this spot and for how much fun this summer is about to be now that I have the Commonwealth Games and World Championships to prepare for." 

In August 2021, Di Stasio penned a letter through the BC Women's Health Foundation, sharing her experience with mental health and anxiety, saying the focus on her mental health became a priority during the Olympic Trials in December 2019.

"I felt like I needed to win, and the fear of failure was all I thought about. I didn’t know it at the time, but my anxiety was taking over," she wrote. 

"Normally, a little bit of performance anxiety helps me prepare and focus, but this time it was different – the pressure was overwhelming and I couldn’t find a way to calm down. 

"I didn’t make the Olympic team, but earned a position as an Olympic Alternate by placing second. Watching back the final matches of trials, I looked too scared to make a mistake. I felt like I stood out there for two matches and wasted the opportunity. 

Di Stasio explained she knew she needed to cope with falling short of her goal in a healthy way.

However, like many others, she said she was scared to admit she needed help. 

"I kept questioning why I felt so low and guilty for feeling bad when things in my life were 'good.' My best friend pushed me in the right direction by saying, 'Don’t think that you’re too good for therapy.' I had thought that if I went to therapy I might be taking the resource away from someone else who truly needed help. Turns out, I truly needed the help!" 

Di Stasio started therapy for her anxiety in January 2020, with support provided by Wrestling Canada. 

"It’s a constant process, and it’s hard to navigate but it is possible to come out the other side of anxiety and feel better."