To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world
By William May
（Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee
December wrestling news
YOSHIDA, K. ICHO TO RECEIVE TV ASAHI BIG SPORTS PRIZE
TOKYO (December 5) - Beijing Olympic champions Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho were selected along with other Japanese gold medalists at the 2008 Games as recipients of the TV Asahi Big Sports Prize.
In Beijing, Yoshida (55kg) and Icho (63kg) both defended Olympic titles then won at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The TV Asashi Newcomer’s Prize will go to Mio Nishimaki who stepped in for Icho at the women’s wrestling world championships in October and won her first senior world title at 63kg. The awards will be presented on January 15.
WRESTLING MEDALISTS IN BEIJING AWARDED SPECIAL PRIZE BY TOKYO SPORTS
TOKYO (December 17) - The Tokyo sports news daily, Tokyo Sports Shimbun, awarded special prizes to Japan’s wrestling medalists at the Beijing Olympic Games this past summer and winners at the women’s wrestling world championships in October.
Recipients of the “Pro Wrestling Grand Prize” were:
Tomohiro Matsunaga, men’s freestyle 55kg, Olympic silver medalist
Kenichi Yumoto, men’s freestyle 60kg, Olympic bronze medalist
Chiharu Icho, women’s freestyle 48kg, Olympic silver medalist
Hitomi Sakamoto, women’s freestyle 51kg, world champion
Saori Yoshida, women’s freestyle 55kg, Olympic gold medalist, world champion
Ayako Shoda, women’s freestyle 59kg, world champion
Kaori Icho, women’s freestyle 63kg, Olympic gold medalist
Mio Nishimaki, women’s freestyle 63kg, world champion
Kyoko Hamaguchi, women’s freestyle 72kg, Olympic bronze medalist
JWF-AFFILIATE ASSOCIATIONS NAME WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR
TOKYO (December 18) - Wrestling associations affiliated with the Japan Wrestling Federation named their wrestlers of the year for 2008:
Japan Shakaijin - Kiyoharu Hirao, Niigata
All-Japan Collegiate - Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu, Takushoku University
National High School - Takahiro Inoue, Ikuei high school, Hyogo
National Middle School - Yuki Takahashi, Mie
Eri Noborisaka, Toyama
National Schoolboy-Schoolgirl - Taro Sawa, Osaka
Haruyo Kimura, Aomori
All-Japan Female - Yu Horiuchi, Kyoto, Amino high school
All-Japan Masters - Eiko Yukawa
YOSHIDA’S OLYMPIC SINGLETS AUCTIONED FOR 551,000 JPY
TOKYO (December 19) - The singlets worn by Saori Yoshida in her march to the women’s 55kg gold medal at last summer’s Beijing Olympics were auctioned off on the Internet for 551,000 yen (approximately, 6,123 USD), with the money being donated to the Japan Red Cross Society.
KUNO, TSURUYA EARN BRONZE MEDALS AT GRAPPLING WORLDS
LUCERNE, Switzerland (December 20-21) - Takanori Kuno and Hiroshi Tsuruya won bronze medals at the inaugural grappling world championships in Lucerne, Switzerland.
In the No-Gi competition, Kuno of Team Akira Ota rebounded from a first-round loss to eventual champion Raphael David (USA) to win three straight matches in repechage at 96kg, defeating Piotr Baginski (POL) for a bronze medal with an ankle lock.
In the Gi competition, Tsuruya advanced to the semifinals at 80kg with a bye and two wins before falling by decision to champion M. Salazar Mousinho of Brazil. Tsuruya of Palaestra Matsudo came back for a bronze medal with a win over Mike Kelly (USA).
80 kg - KURISU, Tatsuya - 1 win, 1 loss (18th, 35 entries)
80 kg - TSURUYA, Hiroshi - 1-1 (16th, 35 entries)
92 kg - KUNO, Takanori - 3-1 (3rd, 26 entries)
80 kg - KURISU, Tatsuya - 0-1 (12th, 20 entries)
80 kg - TSURUYA, Hiroshi - 3-1 (3rd, 20 entries)
92 kg - KUNO, Takanori - 1-1 (9th, 18 entries)
NAT’L TEAM COACHING STAFF GETS YOUTHFUL FACELIFT
TOKYO (December 23) - The Japan Wrestling Federation gave the national team coaching staff a youthful facelift with the appointment of a number of young coaches, including Shingo Matsumoto and Hitomi Sakamoto.
Matsumoto, 30, becomes a member of the greco-roman national team staff after a trip to the Beijing Olympics this past summer and Sakamoto, 27, ended her competitive career in October after winning her sixth world championship title at 51kg.
Along with Matsumoto and Sakamoto, Athens Olympic bronze medalists Chikara Tanabe and Kenji Inoue take positions on the freestyle staff with six-time national champion Kiyotaka Kodaira.
The oldest appointee to the coaching staff was Eikatsu Yoshida, 56, Saori’s father, who will be helping with his daughter’s bid for a third Olympic gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Women’s national team head coach Kazuhito Sakae added, however, that the elder Yoshida will also be expected to help with the younger wrestlers as well since “making the younger wrestlers stronger will also make Saori stronger.”
The line-up of the national team coaching staff:
National team director: Mitsuru Sato, 47, Senshu University professor
Deputy national team director: Hiromichi Ito, 45, Japan Self-Defense Forces
Technical director: Takeshi Kukidome, 42, Senshu University professor
Head coach: Mitsuru Sato, 47, Senshu University professor
Coaches: Chikara Tanabe, 33, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department; Kenji Inoue, 32, Japan SDF; Takahiro Wada, 37, Kokushikan University staff: Kiyotaka Kodaira, 29, Tokyo MPD
Head coach: Hiromichi Ito, 45, Japan SDF
Coaches: Masatoshi Toyoda, 32, Tokyo MDF; Hiroshi Kado, 37, Pacific Rim University; Yasutoshi Motoki, 39, Japan SDF; Shingo Matsumoto, 30, Ichinomiya Transport; Takeshi Kukidome, 42, Senshu University professor
National team director: Kazuhito Sakae, 48, Chukyo Women’s University professor
Coaches: Shigeo Kinase, 47, Japan Olympic committee coach; Kenji Fujikawa, 45, Japan SDF; Eikatsu Yoshida, 56, Mie Prefectural Wrestling Association; Toshihiro Naritomi, 45, Abe Gakuin high school teacher; Shoko Yoshimura, 40, Aesthetic TBC; Hitomi Sakamoto, 27, Japan SDF
WINNERS FROM EAST JAPAN COLLEGIATE NEWCOMERS AUTUMN TOURNEY
TOKYO (November 30) - Winners from the East Japan collegiate wrestling association’s autumn tourney for freshman and sophomore wrestlers at the National Training Center:
55kg – Manabu Sudo, Nihon University
60kg – Yuta Uchimura, Takushoku University
66kg – Tatsuya Nabatame, Nihon
74kg – Tomotsugu Ishida, Waseda University
84kg – Yuki Eita, Nihon
96kg – Seiji Suzuki, Senshu University
120kg – Takuya Masuda, Yamanashi Gakuin University
55kg – Naoto Tsuchida, Nippon Sports Sciences University
60kg – Yuki Makise, Toyo University
66kg – Tsuyoshi Shiozaki, Meiji University
74kg – Kazuo Tamura, Waseda
84kg – Taichi Oka, Takushoku
96kg – Masayuki Amano, Chuo University
120kg – Masato Aisawa, Nihon