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

   July wrestling news

TOKYO (July 13) – Takuma Arizono won a special three-way wrestle-off to claim the 96kg position on the Japanese greco-roman team for the world championships this September in Istanbul.

Arizono of Yamanashi Gakuin University becomes the first university student on the Japanese men's world team since 2001 when Nihon University's Taichi Suga represented Japan at the world meet in Greece.

Arizono also follows in the footsteps of YGU head coach Kunihiko Obata, who first qualified for the Japanese world team as a YGU student in 2001 although he represented Japan at 76kg in freestyle throughout the Olympic qualification process in 2000.

The 96kg position opened up after world team veteran Katsuya Kitamura tested positive for a banned substance after the national team trials in April.

The wrestle-off was opened to Arizono as runner-up to Kitamura in December's national championships, national team trials runner-up Takahiro Mori, and Yuji Yamamoto, a third-place finisher in both the All-Japan meet and the trials. The winner would be the first wrestler to defeat both opponents back-to-back.

In the opening bout of the wrestle-offs, Yamamoto defeated Mori 2-0 (2-0, 1-0) on a gut wrench and go-behind takedown.

Arizono, however, edged Yamamoto in the second bout 2-1 (0-1, 2-0, 1-0), earning the choice in par terre in the third period and defending for 30 seconds for the win.

In the third bout, Arizono closed out the wrestle-off with a 2-1 (0-2, 3-2, 3-0) win over Mori, scoring with a second gut wrench in the second period after the first one was scored 2-2 and then wiggling out on top of Mori's gut wrench attempt in the third period.

“I had only one win against three losses against Yamamoto before today and I was 0-2 against Mori, but I had confidence in my conditioning and my strategy worked out ,” said Arizono. “I hope I can qualify for the Olympics at the world championships and wrestle in London.”


WAKO, Saitama (July 2) – Kohei Fujimoto was named the outstanding wrestler of men's freestyle competition as the Japanese shakaijin national championships for non-student senior-level wrestlers got under way at Wako municipal gymnasium.

Fujimoto, a silver medalist at the Dave Schultz Memorial in February, defeated former national team member, 2-1, at 66kg for his third shakaijin triumph.

Meanwhile, three-time Asia champion Chikako Matsukawa won the women's 55kg crown and was named the outstanding wrestler of the female competition.

In the men's 96kg category, former judo world champion Hiroshi Izumi lost his opening match and failed to qualify for the national wrestling championships in December – a key step to a possible berth for Japan in next year's Olympic wrestling competition.

In the women's events, four-time world champion Seiko Nagashima (nee Yamamoto) won easily at 63kg to keep alive her hopes of making the Olympic team for next year's London Games.

Individual freestyle winners were:

Men's freestyle
55kg – Kazuhide Tomita, Japan Self-Defense Forces
60kg – Yasuhiro Morishita, Yamaguchi wrestling association
66kg – Kohei Fujimoto, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department
74kg – Takayuki Suzuki, Tokyo MPD
84kg – Seiji Suzuki, Senshu club
96kg – Tetsuro Asami, Toa Gakuen high school teacher
120kg – Tsutomu Takabayashi, Miyoshi Trading

Women's freestyle
48kg – Hiromi Sakurai, Rank-up Hirano-ya club
51kg – Ayano Suzuki, Japan Beverage
55kg – Chikako Matsukawa, Japan Beverage
59kg – Ayako Shoda, Amino club
63kg – Seiko Nagashima, Sports Bees
67kg – Anna Uno, Nippon Sports Sciences University
72kg – Hiroe Suzuki, Clean-up


WAKO, Saitama (July 3) – Kazuma Kuramoto moved up a weight to win the 66kg crown in the greco-roman events at the All-Japan Shakaijin National Championships at Wako municipal gymnasium.

Kuramoto, a bronze medalist at 60kg at the Sunkist International last October, defeated Hideo Kitaoka for his second straight shakaijin crown and was named the greco-roman tournament's outstanding wrestler for a second year in a row.

Wrestlers from the Japan Self-Defense Forces' Physical Training School six of the seven greco-roman weight categories.

Individual greco-roman winners were:

55kg – Hayanobu Shimizu, Japan Self-Defense Forces
60kg – Takashi Sasaki, Japan SDF
66kg – Kazuma Kuramoto, Japan SDF
74kg – Naoto Kasai, Japan SDF
84kg – Kosuke Sumi, Japan SDF
96kg – Ryo Ito, Japan SDF
120kg – Ken Sogabe, Nichia Chemical


NIIGATA, Niigata (July 29-31) – A total of 1,187 wrestlers from 176 clubs from around Japan and Korea took part in the schoolboys and schoolgirls national championships at Higashi Sogo Sports Center in the city of Niigata.

The meet, which crowned champions in 93 weight categories, saw Jintaro Motoyama of the Yokkaichi Juniors club in Mie win for a seventh straight year as he took the 42kg crown for sixth graders.

The meet also saw the debut of the Thunder Kids club from Utsunomiya, Tochigi coached by 1994 world champion Mitsuko Funakoshi, who herself started wrestling as a fourth grader in Tochigi.


TARNOWO PODGORNE, Poland (July 30-31) – Former Asia junior champion Eriko Nakata returned to the mats in style with a bronze medal at the Poland Open international women's tournament.

Nakata, who last wrestled for Japan at the 2008 world university championships, entered the prestigious women's freestyle event along with former Waseda University teammate Tsukasa Sato. Sato wrestled in the men's Ziolkowski International, another highly regarded competition before the world championships in September.

Nakata opened with a convincing 2-0 win over Martina Riegler (AUT) and then stretched U.S. world team member Kelsey Campbell (USA) to the limit in the semifinals.

Nakata took the first period from the clinch, but could not score a point in the final two periods as Campbell prevailed with a force-out in the second and a spin behind in the third.

In the match for third place, Nakata scored with a double-leg takedown in the second period and pressed Andrea Sambrovska (SVK) for the fall.

In the men's events, Sato, a member of Japan's Asian championships squad last year, made a pair of tactical errors against Samet Duelger (GER) that knocked him out of the 66kg competition early.

Sato slipped on a front headlock and spin in the first period and was dumped on his back in the third when he tried to jump around behind the German national team veteran. Duelger lost in the second round, knocking Sato out of medal contention.

Women's freestyle
59kg – NAKATA, Eriko (Bronze, 12 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Martina Riegler (AUT), 2-0 (3-0, 2-0)
SF – lost to Kelsey Campbell (USA), 1-2 (1-0, 0-1, 0-1)
F3 – df. Andrea Sambrovska (SVK) by fall, 2P=1:08 (2-0, F3-0)

Men's freestyle
66kg – SATO, Tsukasa (17th, 22 entries)
R1 – lost to Samet Duelger (GER), 1-2 (0-4, 1-0,0-3)

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