To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world
By William May
（Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public
Kyodo World Services, senior sports writer：email@example.com）
HAMAGUCHI NAMED JOC FLAG BEARER FOR ATHENS
TOKYO (June 24) - Five-time world champion Kyoko Hamaguchi will carry
the flag for the Japanese delegation at the opening ceremony of this summer’s
Olympic Games in Athens. Hamaguchi, 26, one of the favorites for a gold
medal in women’s wrestling, was selected the Japanese flag bearer for
the Athens Games by the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) at their Executive
Board meeting on June 24.
“I feel a sense of destiny (that Kyoko) will be the flag bearer at
an Olympic Games that is sure to be memorable,” Kyoko’s father and coach,
Heigo “Animal” Hamaguchi told reporters. “To be the flag bearer will
put Kyoko on top of a rising mood (of enthusiasm) and we hope this will
carry her all the way to winning the gold medal,” the former pro wrestler
With Hamaguchi named the flag bearer for the Japanese delegation, the Japan
Wrestling Federation revised its schedule for its female wrestlers. The
JWF had originally planned that the women would continue training in Japan
and skip the opening ceremony on August 13. The Japanese women, however,
will now leave Japan on August 6 and train in Athens until the women’s
wrestling event on August 22-23.
HAMAGUCHI ON OLYMPIC COMMEMORATIVE STAMP
TOKYO (June 23) - The Japanese Olympic Committee and Japan’s public
corporation in charge of post offices unveiled a series of stamps that
include pictures of Kyoko Hamaguchi and four other gold medal hopefuls
Along with Hamaguchi are hammer thrower Koji Murofushi, marathon runner
Mizuki Noguchi, judoka Kosei Inoue and swimmer Kosuke Kitajima. It is the
first time in Japan that the commemorative stamps have used images of the
Olympic athletes. On previous occasions the stamps have featured Olympic
illustrations or the Olympic mascots.
A sheet of ten 80-yen stamps will cost 2,625 yen with part of the
money to be used by the JOC for its athletic development fund. The JOC
is hoping to sell 100,000 sets of the stamps, which give the JOC about
40 million yen to use for the development of Japan’s Olympic medal hopefuls.
JWF NAMES COACHES, OFFICIALS FOR ATHENS
TOKYO (JUNE 27) - The Japan Wrestling Federation has named its coaches
and officials for next month’s Olympic Games in Athens.
Members of the official delegation:
Head coach - Hideaki Tomiyama
Freestyle coaches - Masakazu Hijikata, Takahiro Wada
Greco-roman coaches - Hiromichi Ito, Hiroshi Kado
Head coach - Akira Suzuki
Coaches - Kazuhito Sakae, Shigeo Kinase, Ryo Kanahama
Yoshimitsu Naito, Koji Fukuda
Extra coaches (not included in the official delegation)
Greco-roman head coach - Atsushi Miyahara
Freestyle coaches - Hiroyuki Obata, Takumi Adachi, Hajime Wakui, Mitsuru
Women’s coach - Kazuko Oshima
Special greco-roman coach - Yuji Nagata
Special women’s coach - Heigo Hamaguchi
JWF CONFIRMS SCHEDULE, INCENTIVES FOR OLYMPIANS
TOKYO (June 27) - The Japan Wrestling Federation has confirmed that
Japan’s freestyle and greco-roman wrestlers will leave for Athens on August
9 and take part in the opening ceremonies on August 13. The men will then
spend a week in Budapest to prepare for the greco-roman competition August
24-26 and freestyle events August 27-29. The JWF also confirmed that any
of its wrestlers winning a gold medal in Athens will be rewarded with its
own gold medal worth 1 million yen.
The gold medal winners will also receive travel tickets worth 1 million
yen along with 2.5 million yen in a monetary reward with the money coming
from a variety of sponsors.
The silver and bronze medalists will receive 1.7 million and 1.1 million
AKAISHI COACHING AFGHAN WRESTLERS IN ATHENS
TOKYO (June 4) - Two-time Olympic medalist Kosei Akaishi departed for
the Greek island of Lesvos where he will join the wrestlers from Afghanistan
as their coach for the Olympic Games in Athens. Akaishi previously served
as a coach for Afghanistan in 2002 when he spent two months with the wrestlers
in the capital city of Kabul prior to the Asian Games in Pusan, Korea.
Afghanistan failed to win a berth in the Athens Games through the qualification
process, but received a wild card berth in freestyle from FILA. Akaishi
was approached to serve as coach again in Athens.
TAKADA NAMED TO FILA’S WRESTLING HALL OF FAME
TOKYO (JUNE 22) - Yuji Takada, 1976 Olympic champion and widely considered
one of wrestling’s all-time great technicians, will be inducted to wrestling’s
international hall of fame, world governing body FILA has announce. Takada
will receive his award at a party following the FILA Congress meeting in
Athens on August 20.
The international wrestling hall of fame, which was created last year,
is located in Stillwater, Oklahoma along with the U.S. wrestling hall of
fame. Takada, who also won four world championship titles, is the first
Japanese wrestler to be selected for induction into the hall.
TANABE DEFEATS ABDULLAEV TO WIN AT GERMAN FS GRAND PRIX
LEIPZIG, Germany (June 12-13) - Tokyo police officer Chikara Tanabe
fashioned a 5-0 victory over Sydney Olympic champion Namik Abdullaev and
won the 55-kg title at the German freestyle grand prix tournament. Tanabe,
effective in par terre in all of his matches, opened the scoring by converting
in par terre with an ankle lace.
He later then pried Abdullaev of Azerbaijan over with a leg grape vine
on his way to his second championship of the Japanese team’s tour of Asia.
Meanwhile, world bronze medalist Kazuhiko Ikematsu was runner-up at 66
kg for a second week in a row as he fell 4-1 to Elman Asgarov of Azerbaijan.
Kenji Inoue (60 kg) and Kunihiko Obata (74) also collected silver medals
while veteran Hidekazu Yokoyama (84) struggled with a pair of losses in
the preliminary rounds.
TANABE LEADS JAPAN TO 4 GOLD IN MACEDONIA INT’L
SKOPJE, Macedonia (June 5-6) - Chikara Tanabe led a parade of three
Japanese to the top of the medals podium at the Pearl of Macedonia international
Tanabe scored a pair of wins by technical fall and rolled 10-1 over Krasmir
Krstanov of Bulgaria for the title at 55 kg.
Kunihiko Obata pinned Kemeridis Theoharis of Greece for the title at
74 kg and Hidekazu Yokoyama eased his way to three wins in a four-man round-robin
for the gold medal at 84 kg. Kazuhiko Ikematsu, however, fell to local
favorite Franezi Lialjzim 8-6 in the final at 66 kg.
Japan’s fifth Olympic entry in freestyle, Kenji Inoue, sat out the
Macedonia meet with an injury.
NAGATA 4TH, MATSUMOTO 5TH IN HUNGARY
SZOMBATHELY, Hungary (June 26-27) - Katsuhiko Nagata’s final tune-up
for the Athens Olympics was a trip down memory lane as he faced a pair
of fellow Sydney Olympians on the final day of the Hungarian greco-roman
Unfortunately for Nagata, both encounters resulted in losses as the
Sydney silver medalist had to settled for fourth place. Nagata fell to
former world and European runner-up Csaba Hirbik of Hungary 3-0 in the
semifinals at 74 kg. Hirbik was 15th in Sydney at 69 kg. Nagata then faced
two-time Olympic gold medalist Filiberto Azcuy, the same opponent he faced
in the 69-kg finals in Sydney, for the bronze medal. While he was able,
in part, to limit the damage from the Cuban’s lift, Nagata still lost
6-0 and took fourth place.
Meanwhile, Shingo Matsumoto opened with a 4-2 win over Sydney silver
medalist Sandor Bardosi of Hungary at 84 kg, but had to settle for fifth
place after a hard-fought 3-2 loss to Hungary’s up-and-coming Balasz Kiss.
Makoto Sasamoto lost 5-4 to 2000 European champion Istvan Majoros of Hungary
in his opening match and could only manage to finish 11th at 60 kg.
Masatoshi Toyota injured his ribs in practice earlier in the week and
sat out the competition at 55 kg.
MATSUMOTO 4TH IN GERMAN GR GRAND PRIX
DORTMUND, Germany (June 19-20) - Asian Games champion Shingo Matsumoto
downed a reigning European title holder on his way to a fourth-place finish
in the German grand prix of greco-roman wrestling. Matsumoto stopped Nazmi
Avluca of Turkey 3-1 to kick off his campaign at 84 kg.
The burly grappler from Kochi, however, ran into Russia’s Alexej Michin
in the semifinals and was thrown with a reverse waistlock and lift in a
7-0 loss. In the match for third place, Matsumoto fell behind early to
Sergey Solokij of Ukraine and could not find the handle in par terre as
he lost 3-0.
Meanwhile, Makoto Sasamoto dropped a 7-5 decision to former world champion
Dilshod Aripov of Uzbekistan after a seesaw encounter in the preliminaries
at 60 kg.
NAGASHIMA WINS BRONZE IN STUDENT WORLDS FS
LODZ, Poland (June 3-4) - Waseda University graduate Kazuyuki Nagashima
upset defending champion Fahrettin Ozata of Turkey to win the 74-kg bronze
medal at the world university freestyle wrestling championships. Nagashima
scored a pair of points from the down position in par terre to take the
early lead against Ozata who won the 74-kg title in the previous championships
two years ago in Canada.
Ozata tied the score midway through the second period at Sports Hall
Parkowa, but Nagashima sealed the victory with a headlock from the clinch
position. Nagashima, who finished sixth in Canada, matched the bronze medal
won by his twin brother, Masayuki, at 66 kg in 2002.
Seshito Shimizu, a graduate of Nippon Sports Science University, injured
his knee in the semifinals and was forced to settle for fourth place at
55 kg after forfeiting the bronze medal match.
Japan finished third in the team standings with 32 points after Iran,
which had five champions and 68 points, and Belarus with two gold medalists
and 36 points.
SERA, SHODA GOLDEN IN WOMEN’S STUDENT C’SHIPS
LODZ, Poland (June 4-5) - Momoko Sera and Ayako Shoda claimed a pair
of gold medals for Japan at the women’s world university wrestling championships,
but the defending team champion had to settle for second behind host Poland.
Sera of Fukuoka University defeated local favorite Iwona Sadowska 4-2 in
the final at 48 kg while Toyo’s Shoda rolled to a technical fall win over
Helen Hennick of Canada in the 63-kg title bout.
Yu Sekine added a bronze medal for Japan with two wins and two losses
in the round robin competition between five wrestlers at 55 kg. The two
gold medals and a bronze, however, were a disappointment for Japanese wrestling
fans since Japan won four weight categories and took third in a fifth at
the championships two years ago in Canada.
Japan finished finished second in the team standings with 50 points
behind host Poland which racked up 57 points with one champion and three
SAWADA 6TH JAPAN IN STUDENT GR WORLDS
LODZ, Poland (June 5-6) - Takushoku University heavyweight Naoki Sawada
grabbed a sixth place for Japan’s best finish of the two-day greco-roman
wrestling world university championships. Sawada posted a pair of wins
against one loss in his preliminary pool, but lost both repechage matches
to settle for sixth.
Turkey won the team championship with 54 points, followed by Iran (46)
and Poland (43). Japan was 10th with 16 points.