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


BAKU (July 9) – A pair of up-and-coming wrestlers from Shigakkan University and its affiliate high school won titles in the women's competition at the FILA Golden Grand Prix Final competition in Baku.

University student Rio Watari notched a pair of falls and edged 2009 European bronze medalist Natalia Smirnova (RUS) in the semifinals at 63kg to claim her first international title at the senior level.

Meanwhile, Shigakkan high school student Sara Dosho opened at 67kg with a fall over Asia bronze medalist Tatyana Zakharova (KAZ) and bounced back from an 0-5 first period to defeat Daria Sanzheeva (RUS) 2-1 in the final.

Dosho's triumph avenged a loss by fall to Sanzheeva in January, where the Russian was the eventual winner at the Yarygin International.

In addition to Japan's two champions, Kanako Murata took the silver medal at 55kg while Kayoko Shimada (59kg) and Hiroe Suzuki (72kg) each earned bronze medals.

Murata stopped Asia No. 3 Aiym Abdildina (KAZ) in the quarterfinals and pinned 2009 world champ Yulia Ratkevich (AZE) on her way to the 55kg final. However, in a repeat of the Klippan Ladies final in March, the Tokyo high school student could not get past European champ Ida-Theres Nerell (SWE).

At 59kg, Shimada fell to European champion Sona Ahmadli (AZE) in the semifinals, but rebounded in the match for third place with a win over two-time junior world champ Ekaterina Melnikova (RUS).

At 72kg, Hiroe Suzuki lost in the first round to two-time junior world champ Natalya Vorobyeva (RUS) but overcame local favorite Dina Ivanova (AZE) for third place.

Youth Olympic winner Yu Miyahara, a teammate of Murata's at the JOC Academy, was the only Japanese entry not to earn a medal. Miyahara lost a hard-fought match with European champ Yulia Blahinya (UKR) in the first round at 51kg, and was eliminated from medal contention when Blahinya lost in the semifinals.

Women's freestyle
51kg – MIYAHARA, Yu (12th, 14 wrestlers)
R1 – lost to Yuliya Blahinya (UKR), 0-2 (0-2, 0-1)

55kg – MURATA, Kanako (2nd, 15 entries)
R1 – df. Elena Bogasieru (ROU), 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)
R2 – df. Aiym Abdildina (KAZ), 2-0 (7-0, 2-0)
SF – df. Yuliya Ratkevich (AZE) by fall, 1P (F4-1)
F1 – lost to Ida-Theres Nerell (SWE), 0-2 (0-3, 0-1)

59kg – SHIMADA, Kayoko (3rd, 9 entries)
R1 – df. Anastasija Grigorjeva (LAT), 2-0 (1-1, 2-0)
R2 – df. Adeline Vescan (FRA), 2-1 (0-2, 1-0, 3-0)
SF – lost to Sona Ahmadli (AZE), 0-2 (0-1, 0-7)
F3 – df. Katerina Melnikova (RUS), 2-0 (1-0,2-0)

63kg – WATARI, Rio (1st, 11 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Andrea Simon (ROU) by fall, 2P (1-0, F6-0)
SF – df. Natalia Smirnova (RUS), 2-0 (1-0, 4-0)
F1 – df. Gozal Zutova (AZE) by fall, 3P (0-6, 1-0, F3-0)

67kg – DOSHO, Sara (1st, 8 entries)
R1 – df. Tatyana Zakharova (KAZ) by fall, 2P (3-0, F4-0)
SF – df. Zumrud Gurbanhajiyeva (AZE), 2-0 (1-0, 3-0)
F1 – df. Darima Sanzheeva (RUS), 2-1 (0-5, 4-0, 1-0)

72kg – SUZUKI, Hiroe (3rd, 11 entries)
R1 – lost to Natalia Vorobyeva (RUS), 0-2 (2-5, 0-3)
c1 – df. Mae Epp (EST), 2-0 (6-1, 1-0)
F3 – df. Dina Ivanova (AZE), 2-1 (1-0, 0-3, 1-0)

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