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By William May
(Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee:wmay52@hotmail.com

January wrestling news


KRASNOYARSK, Russia (January 28-30) – Olympic and world champion Kaori Icho and Japanese national team wannabe Kanako Murata both won gold medals at the prestigious Ivan Yarygin international freestyle wrestling tournament.

2009 world bronze medalist Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu earned a silver medal while Shinichi Yumoto bagged a bronze in the men's events at this opening leg of the FILA Golden Grand Prix. Icho, the 2004 and 2008 Olympic champ, defeated world university runner-up Inna Trazhukova (RUS) in the women's 63kg final.

Murata, meanwhile, pinned 2009 European champ Natalya Shynyshin (UKR) in the semifinals at 55kg and then came from behind in the final to edge Irina Kisel (RUS) in three periods.

In men's competition, Yonemitsu edged defending champion Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (RUS) in the semifinals, but fell in the 66kg final to last year's runner-up Adam Batirov (RUS). At 55kg, Shinichi Yumoto was edged in the quarterfinals by 2008 European champ Jamal Otarsultanov, but rebounded with a pair of wins for a bronze medal.

Three Japanese women – Yu Miyahara (51kg), Kayoko Shimada (59kg) and Sara Dosha (67kg) – all advanced to their respective bronze medal matches but had to settle for fifth place.

Results for Japanese results (some information not available):
Men's freestyle

55kg – YUMOTO, Shinichi (3rd, 28 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Konstantin Mostepan (RUS), 2-0 (2-1, 7-0)
R3 – lost to Jamal Otarsultanov (RUS), 0-2 (0-1, 0-1)
c1 – df. Altinbek Alimbaev (KGZ), 2-0 (4-0, 2-1)
F3 – df. Artyom Gebekov (RUS), 2-1 (0-7, 1-0, 3-1)

55kg – INABA, Yasuhiro (did not place, 28 entries)
R1 – lost to Mikhail Ivanov (RUS), 1-2 (0-2, 2-0, 1-1x=last)

60kg – YUMOTO, Kenichi (dnp, 29 entries)
R1 – df. Shawn Bunch (USA), 2-1 (4-0, 0-1, 1-0)
R2 – df. Noriyuki Takatsuka (JPN), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
R3 – lost to Ahmed Chakaev (RUS), 0-2 (0-2, 2-4)

60kg – TAKATSUKA, Noriyuki (dnp, 29 entries)
R1 – df. Alybert Kairhanov (RUS), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
R2 – lost to Kenichi Yumoto (JPN), 0-2 (0-1, 0-1)

66kg – YONEMITSU, Tatsuhiro (2nd, 30 entries)
R1 – df. Felix Urduhanov (RUS), 2-0 (3-0, 3-0)
R2 – df. Azamat Omurzhanov (KAZ), 2-0 (4-0, 7-3)
R3 – df. Brent Metcalf (USA), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
SF – df. Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (RUS), 2-0 (1-0, 2-1)
F1 – lost to Adam Batirov (RUS), 0-2 (1-3, 0-1)

66kg – KOJIMA, Takafumi (dnp, 30 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Ibrahim Nuriddinov (UZB) by fall, 3P (0-1, 6-0, F0-3)

74kg – SUZUKI, Takayuki (dnp, 26 entries)
R1 – lost to Rasul Rasulov (RUS), 0-2 (0-3, 0-1)

Women's freestyle
51kg – MIYAHARA, Yu (5th, 12 entries)
R1 – lost to Otgontsetseg Davaasukh (MGL), 0-2 (0-2, 0-7)
c1 – df. Buriatin (KAZ), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
F3 – lost to Lubov Salnikov (RUS), 1-2 (0-3, 1-0, 0-1)

55kg – MURATA, Kanako (1st, 19 entries)
R1 – df. Lubov Olejnikova (??), 2-1 (2-3, 2-0, 7-0)
R2 – df. Darya Bogdanova (RUS), 2-0 (2-1, 2-0)
R3 – df. Irina Ologonova (RUS), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
SF – df. Natalya Synyshyn (UKR) by fall, 2P (5-2, F2-0)
F1 – df. Irina Kisel (RUS), 2-1 (1-4, 2-1, 1-0)

59kg – SHIMADA, Kayoko (5th, 13 entries)
R1 – df. ?? (RUS), 2-0 (1-0, 7-0)
R2 – df. Bachjihko (UKR), 2-1 (1-4, 1x-1=last, 1x-1-last)
SF – lost to Zhargalma Tsyrenov (RUS), 0-2 (0-1, 0-1)
F3 – lost to Olga Butkevich (GBR) by fall, 3P (1-1x=last, 6-0, F)

63kg – ICHO, Kaori (1st, 16 entries)
R1 – Sharhuu Tumentcetceg (MGL), 2-0 (2-0, 4-0)
R2 – df. ?? (RUS), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
SF – df. ??
F1 – df. Inna Trazhukova (RUS) by fall

67kg – DOSHA, Sara (5th, 10 entries)
R1 – df. ?? (RUS), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
R2 – df. Natalya Kuksina (RUS), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
SF – lost to Darima Sansheeva (RUS) by fall, 2P (1x-1-last, F)
F3 – lost to Anastasia Schavlinskaya (RUS), 0-2 (0-1, 0-1)

72kg – SUZUKI, Hiroe (dnp, ?? entries)
R1 – df. Ekaterina Bukina (RUS), 2-1 (2-0, 0-1, 1-0)
R2 – lost to Badrakh Odonchimeg (MGL) by fall, 2P (0-1, F0-3)


COLORADO SPRINGS, U.S. (January 29) – Japan managed only one win against three loses and had to settle for a tie for sixth place in the Kiki Cup greco-roman dual meet competition.

Ryo Minemura at 55kg and Kazuma Kuramoto at 60kg turned in Japan's best performances for the day, winning three of their matches with one loss.

The Sunkist club won the team title with four wins, followed by an American combined military team and New York Athletic Club, each with three wins and a loss.

A combined Sweden-Norway squad and Poland tied for fourth place with a 2-2 mark while Japan and Bulgaria tied for sixth at 1-3. The Michigan juniors squad went 0-4 to bring up the rear.

Dual meet scores for Japan:
U.S. military team 15, Japan 12
New York AC 18, Japan 9
Sunkist 18, Japan 5
Japan 16, Michigan juniors 10


TOKYO (January 27) – World champions Hitomi Sakamoto and Kaori Icho along with world bronze medal winner Kyoko Hamaguchi will lead Japan into the World Cup of women's wrestling in France in March.

Japan will have national champions at five of the seven weight categories when the women's dual meet championship gets under way in the northern French city of Lievin, March 5-6. Japan won five of the first six World Cup meets, which were inaugurated in 2001. China, however, has triumphed the last four years, with Japan finishing second in 2007 and settling for third place the last three years.

Along with Japan, China and host France, Canada, Kazakhstan, Russia, Sweden, and the United States round out the eight-team field.

The Japanese line-up for the World Cup will be:
48kg – Hitomi Sakamoto, Japan Self-Defense Forces
51kg – Hikari Sugawara, Shigakkan high school
55kg – Chikako Matsukawa, Japan Beverage
59kg – Takako Saito, Japan SDF
63kg – Kaori Icho, ALSOK club
67kg – Yoshiko Inoue, Shigakkan University
72kg – Kyoko Hamaguchi, Japan Beverage


TOKYO (January 15) – Japan has been named for the inaugural junior World Cup meet scheduled for Germany in May, the Japan Wrestling Federation reported. The meet to be held May 27-28 in Plauen, Germany will be the first for wrestlers 20 years old and younger and will feature competition only in men's freestyle. Subsequent World Cups will be held with all three styles beginning in 2012.

Japan qualified for the World Cup by way of its seventh-place finish in last year's junior world championships. The eight-team field will include Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Iran, the United States and host Germany.

“This is a huge honor,” said JWF executive director Yuji Takada. “We hope to send a squad comprised mostly of winners from the JOC Cup junior national championships.” The junior nationals are held in April.

The freestyle team will be the first Japanese men's team to be compete in a World Cup meet since 1998, when the senior men competed in the men's freestyle World Cup. The Japanese women have competed in every World Cup meet since the first meet in 2001.


TOKYO (January 11) – The Japan Wrestling Federation will give this year's female world champions a huge advantage in the selection process for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, but at the same time, is trying to leave the door open to other wrestlers.

According to the plan unveiled by the JWF, winners at the world meet in Istanbul will still have to win at the 2011 national championships in December or at next year's national invitational.

If the world champion does not win either national title, the winners of the two meets with wrestle off for the Olympic berth.

If a wrestler finishes in second to fifth place in Istanbul and qualifies Japan for an Olympic berth, the wrestler will have to win both the national championship and the national invitational titles to secure the ticket to London. If a different wrestler manages to win one of the national crowns, a wrestle-off for the Olympic team will be held.

If a wrestler finishes in seventh place or lower at the world championships and fails to qualify Japan for the Olympics, she will be sent to the Olympic qualification meet for Asia in March 2012 to try again.

If Japan is still not qualified, the national team committee will decide which wrestler(s) to send to the final two Olympic qualification tournaments.

If Japan secures an Olympic berth in one of the final two trials, the national team committee will decide on its selection process for the berth.

As for the 2011 world championships, national champions in the four Olympic categories can secure a world team berth by winning the national invitational in April. If a different wrestler wins at the invitational, a special wrestle-off will be held.

For the three non-Olympic categories, the national champ can punch her ticket to Istanbul by winning at the invitational. If she does not win at the invitational, the national team committee will decide from among the two winners and the top wrestlers from other categories who would like to be considered.

For the 2012 women's world championships, slated for Canada after the Olympic Games, the national team committee will decide on squad members based upon a wide range of criteria.


TOKYO (January 14) – Olympic and world champion Saori Yoshida accepted the prestigious Japan Sports Award from the Yomiuri Shimbun for 2010, saying she wants to keep winning in 2011.

Yoshida, who won her 10th world and Olympic crown in 2010, will try for her ninth world championship title in Istanbul in September and qualify for her third straight Olympic Games.

Yoshida, winning the award for a second time, received a diploma and trophy along with 2 million yen in prize money. The Japan Wrestling Federation also received 3 million yen in support money.

“I think the dreams and hopes and expectations of a lot of people have been answered,” Yoshida told the audience at the Hotel Okura in central Tokyo. “Winning my 10th world title last year made it the best year. And, this year I hope to win every tournament I enter and earn my ticket to the Olympics.”

When asked about the prize money, Yoshida said that she planned to put it into her savings account “to use when I need it.” Then, pressed on what she hoped for most, Yoshida answered “a boyfriend!” -- touching off a wave of laughter in the audience.

In addition to the award to Yoshida, the Yomiuri presented a special Olympic prize to figure skater Daisuke Takahashi, a bronze medal winner at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, and an encouragement prize to sprinter Chisato Takahashi, who won the women's 100 and 200 meters at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

In the evening, Yoshida and fellow world champions Hitomi Sakamoto and Kaori Icho received special awards from TV Asahi. Yuki Takahashi and Yu Miyahara, winners in the inaugural Youth Olympics, received special newcomer awards.


TOKYO (January 22) – The women's national team committee of the Japan Wrestling Federation has added 1996 Olympian Hideo Sasayama to the women's coaching staff.

Sasayama, who wrestled at 52kg in men's freestyle at the Atlanta Games, coaches the Japan Self Defense Forces team, which include world champion Hitomi Sakamoto, and has considerable experience at the women's national team training camps.

Sasayama wrestled for Kosei Gakuin high school in Aomori then joined the SDF and its wrestling team. He won the espoir world title (18-20 years old) in 1987 and took the silver medal at the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing.


TOKYO (January 16) – Former world champ Toshio Asakura and Satoru Goizuka each won their eighth titles at the 10th annual Japan Masters wrestling championships.

Asakura, competing in the 51- to 55-year-old division, took the 63kg title for his sixth straight masters win and eighth overall while Goizuka won at 69kg in the same division at the Olympic Memorial Youth Center in central Tokyo.

In the division for wrestlers 66 years old and older, Katsutoshi Yonemitsu renewed his record as the oldest competitor in the meet, stepping onto the mats at 85 years old and claiming the 69kg crown uncontested.

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