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

   March wrestling news

TOKYO (March 21) – The Japan Wrestling Federation will hold its slate of major events in April as scheduled despite disruptions following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated much of northeastern Japan.

The JWF also decided that the tournaments, which include the junior national championships in Yokohama (April 23-24) and the Meiji Nyugyo Cup all-Japan invitational and national team trials (April 29-30) in Tokyo, will be charity events where donations will be collected for the relief and recovery of the earthquake-ravaged area.

The JWF also heard a report from the high school wrestling association that Miyako, Iwate, one of the host cities of the the high school national championships in August, suffered considerable damage from the earthquake making it difficult for the city to help with the summer classic.

This year's championships were scheduled to be held regionally, along with locations in Aomori and Akita prefectures. If there is any trouble in hosting the championships, the JWF will help with the event.


TOKYO (March 15) – The 54th annual national high school invitational wrestling tournament, held annually in the city of Niigata in March, was canceled following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated large parts of northeastern Japan.

The city of Niigata which lies on the Sea of Japan side of the main island of Honshu offered its gymnasiums and other facilities for victims of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck on March 11.


TOKYO (March 18) – Olympians Kaori Icho and Kyoko Hamaguchi along with Chikako Matsukawa were named individual champions for third-place Japan at the World Cup of women's wrestling held March 5-6 in France.

Icho, the reigning Olympic and world champion, won all four of her bouts at 63kg for the individual crown in the dual-meet team competition. Olympic and world bronze medalist Hamaguchi (72kg) and former Asia champ Matsukawa (55kg) each notched three wins against one loss, but were awarded first place on criteria.

Meanwhile, world champion Hitomi Sakamoto had to settle for second place at 48kg despite winning all four of her matches. Sakamoto racked up 15 classification points with her four wins, but was edged by Jyldyz Eshimova (KAZ) with 16 points.

Individual champions at the other weight categories were Jessica MacDonald (CAN) at 51kg, Anna Polovneva (RUS) at 59kg and Hong Yan (CHN) at 67kg.


TOKYO (March 21) – JWF president Tomiaki Fukuda and executive director Yuji Takada were re-elected to the top posts in the Japan Wrestling Federation for the fiscal years 2011-2012.

Fukuda and Takada originally assumed their posts in April 2003 and next April they will begin their fifth two-year terms as the leaders of wrestling in Japan.


SZOMBATHELY, Hungary (March 5-6) – Hiroyuki Shimizu took a silver medal and Norikatsu Saikawa added a bronze medal at the Hungary Grand Prix greco-roman wrestling tournament.

Shimizu won four straight matches at 66kg, but could not stop the gut wrench of Asian Games runner-up Darkhan Bayakhmetov (KAZ) in the final and had to settle for the silver medal.

Against Bayakhmetov, Shimizu took the first period with a gut wrench in par terre and had a potential winning point waved off in the second before his opponent was able to rally in the third.

  Saikawa, meanwhile, battled world No. 3 Nenad Zugaj (CRO) evenly throughout their second-round match but dropped a narrow 0-1, 1-1 decision.

Saikawa, however, rebounded with three straight wins for third place. His wins included a big come-from-behind victory with a last-minute three-point move against Asian Games bronze medalist Alhazur Ozdiyev (KAZ).

Meanwhile, newly crowned national champion Yuji Okamoto battled hard against Vasif Arzimanov (TUR) in their first round match at 66kg but could not find the key to unlock the world bronze medalist's tight defense. Okamoto was eliminated from medal contention when Arzimanov lost in the next round to Bayakhmetov.

At 74kg, world No. 5 Takehiro Kanakubo fell to Beijing Olympian Seref Tuefenk (TUR) in a second-round bout and did not get a chance in the consolation bracket, while world silver medalist Ryutaro Matsumoto sat out the competition at 60kg with a painful right ankle.

60kg – MATSUMOTO, Ryutaro (did not wrestle)

66kg – SHIMIZU, Hiroyuki (2nd, 25 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Richard Rigo (SVK), 2-0 (1-0, 3-0)
R3 – df. Glenn Garrison (USA), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
SF – df. Balint Korpasi (HUN), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
F1 – lost to Darkhan Bayakhmetov (KAZ), 1-2 (2-0, 0-2, 5-0)

66kg – OKAMOTO, Yuji (18th, 25 entries)
R1 – lost to Vasif Arzimanov (TUR), 0-2 (0-1, 0-2)

74kg – KANAKUBO, Takeo (19th, 29 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Seref Tuefenk (TUR) by fall, 2P=1:48 (2-2x=last, F0-4)

84kg – SAIKAWA, Norikatsu (3rd, 26 entries)
R1 – df. Laszlo Antunovics (HUN), 2-1 (1-0, 0-1, 2-0)
R2 – df. Nenad Zugaj (CRO), 0-2 (0-1, 1-1x=last)
c1 – df. Zhanarbek Kabdolov (KAZ), 2-1 (1-0, 0-1, 2-0)
c2 – df. Alhazur Ozdiyev (KAZ), 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 3x-3=big)
F3 – df. Jim Pettersson (SWE), 2-0 (2-0, 1-0)


KLIPPAN, Sweden (March 5-6) – Fukuoka high school student Yuki Irie came from behind to defeat world No. 5 Iwona Matkowska (POL) and claim the 48kg crown in the senior-junior division of the Klippan Ladies international wrestling tournament.

Honoka Saito and Kanako Murata, both of Abe Gakuin high school in Tokyo, both earned silver medalist while high school teammate Yuka Sakurai took a bronze medal.

The Japanese juniors took third behind Poland and Azerbaijan in the final team rankings.

Senior-junior division

48kg – IRIE, Yuki (1st, 14 entries)
R1 – df. Chigusa Ito (JPN) by fall, 2P=1:46
R2 – df. Sarianne Savola (FIN), 2-1 (3-0, 2-4, 5-0)
SF – df. Julita Omilusik (POL), 2-0 (3-0, 3-0)
F1 – df. Iwona Matkowska (POL), 2-1(0-1, 2-2, 2-0)

48kg – ITO, Chigusa (5th, 14 entries)
R1 – lost to Yuki Irie (JPN) by fall, 2P=1:46
c1 – df. Sarianne Savola (FIN), 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 2-0)
F3 – lost to Julita Omilusik (POL), 0-2 (0-1, 0-1)

51kg – SAITO, Honoka (2nd, 8 entries)
R1 – df. Ilona Omilusik (POL) by fall, 2P=1:50
SF – df. Francesca Mori (ITA), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
F1 – lost to Angela Dorogan (AZE), 0-2 (1-6, 0-3)

51kg – SAKURAI, Yuka (3rd, 8 entries)
R1 – df. Alexandra Linden (SWE) by fall, 2P=1:30
SF – lost to Angela Dorogan (AZE),0-2 (0-7, 02)
F3 – df. Natalia Ochal (POL), 2-0 (1-0, 3-0)

55kg – MURATA, Kanako (2nd, 14 entries)
R1 – df. Emese Szabo (HUN), 2-0 (4-1, 7-0)
R2 – df. Tiina Vainionpaa (FIN) by fall, 2P=1:50)
SF – df. Tiina Ylinen (FIN), 2-0 (5-2, 5-2)
F1 – lost to Ida-Theres Nerell (SWE), 1-2 (4-1, 0-4, 2-4)

63kg – YOSHII, Tamae (9th, 13 entries0
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Olesya Zamula (AZE), 0-2 (0-2, 0-1)

Team standings
1. Poland, 50 points
2. Azerbaijan, 44 points (3 champions)
3. Japan, 44 points (1 champion)


KLIPPAN, Sweden (March 4-5) – Yu Miyahara won her fourth straight title and Kako Okamoto was named the outstanding wrestler as six Japanese wrestlers won gold medals in the cadet division competition at the Klippan Ladies international wrestling tournament.

Miyahara of Tokyo's Abe Gakuin high school and the JOC Academy for elite wrestlers won at 49kg while Okamoto of the Kitakyushu club took the 46kg crown. Other winners for Japan were Kanna Asakura (38kg) and Kika Kagata (40kg) of the Tokyo Gold Kids club, Yui Sakano (56kg) of Abe Gakuin and Masamo Furuichi (65kg) of the JOC Academy.

Results of Japanese entries in the cadet division:

38kg – Kanna Asakura (1st, 6 entries)
40kg – Kika Kagata (1st, 7 entries)
46kg – Kako Okamoto (1st, 20 entries)
46kg – Fubuki Sakagami (2nd, 20 entries)
49kg – Yu Miyahara (1st, 16 entries)
49kg – Miyu Miura (did not place, 16 entries)
49kg – Natsumi Sasaki (dnp, 16 entries)
52kg – Nodoka Kaneko (4th, 17 entries)
52kg – Rumi Hirose (dnp, 17 entries)
52kg – Mayu Mukaida (dnp, 17 entries)
52kg – Anri Kimura (dnp, 17 entries)
52kg – Nanami Irie (dnp, 17 entries)
56kg – Yui Sakano (1st, 20 entries)
56kg – Kumi Irie (3rd, 20 entries)
56kg – Ayano Hanada (dnp, 20 entries)
60kg – Yoshimi Kayama (dnp, 13 entries)
65kg – Masako Furuichi (1st, 13 entries)
70kg – Rino Abe (2nd, 10 entries)
70kg – Miku Saito (dnp, 10 entries)
70kg – Yume Kobayashi (dnp, 10 entries)

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