MacDonald primed for eighth trip to senior worlds
Jessie MacDonald would rather forget her appearance at the 2017 senior world wrestling championships.
The 33-year-old St. Catharines resident was wrestling up a weight class at 53 kilograms and was making her way back from the birth of her first child.
“I don’t even know where I came. It was not good,” said the former world champion and two-time world bronze medalist.”
Things are looking much different in 2018 as she heads to the senior worlds this week in Budapest, Hungary. It is her eighth time competing at the event.
“I feel like I am at a better weight right now (50 kilograms) and this is more of a competitive weight for me,” the Brock Wrestling Club member said. “Last year, I wrestled up because of breast feeding, the baby and whatnot.”
Her preparations have also been much better.
“She looks really good and she has had a great year of preparation with great tournaments worldwide,” Brock head coach Marty Calder said.
MacDonald agrees with that sentiment.
“I have a lot of good training behind me, a lot of good tournaments and training camps, and I’ve had a pretty successful year,” she said. “The only people I have had trouble with are the top competitors and it’s always going to be close with them.
“It’s about putting it together on the right day.”
Calder is confident about MacDonald’s chances in Hungary.
“I don’t know where she is ranked right now, but she has beat some of the top women in the world at 50 kilograms,” he said. “There are a couple of studs in her weight class and it is going to be an interesting worlds for her.”
The worlds are always important, but the 2020 Olympics are looming for MacDonald and all the other high-calibre athletes who beat each other up daily in the Brock wrestling room.
“She is on the right pathway and is heading in the right direction for 2020, for sure,” Calder said.
MacDonald feels the same way.
“To be honest, at this point in my career, if I didn’t feel that I still had room for improvement or if I didn’t think I was still accelerating then I wouldn’t continue,” she said. “At this point, I still see growth and 2020 is what I have my eye on and I am working towards that every day.”
But this week, her eyes are on the world championships; an event she is very familiar with.
“It’s still the worlds, but my mind is a little bit more at ease because I know what to expect,” she said. “When you are younger and you see a different country, you freak yourself out and you put these tournaments on a higher pedestal.”
Her years of experience have made her understand that approach doesn’t work.
“You have to realize it’s the same people, the same kind of tournament,” MacDonald said. “You don’t want to minimize the importance, but you have to be realistic. It’s just another tournament and you have to do the same things you do every other time.”
Her goals for the senior worlds are process based.
“We have some key things we have been working on to try and fix some holes and weaknesses in my wrestling while still working on my strengths,” she said. “My plan it to go out there, be my best that day and put it all on the line.”
She believes she is ready for the challenge.
“I don’t have any regrets,” MacDonald said. “I feel I am well-prepared so at this point, I just need to go out there and enjoy it.”
So far in 2018, MacDonald won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, topped the field at the Ukrainian Memorial, was third at the Polish Open and Spanish Grand Prix, and took gold at the Canada Cup.