To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

By William May

(Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee
Kyodo World Services, senior sports

  The Japan Wrestling Federation has announced most of its delegation for the wrestling world championships in New York this fall. The entire delegation for the September 26-29 championships will be comprised of 44 wrestlers, coaches, staff and officials.
   The team includes Sydney silver medalist
Katsuhiko Nagata (GR 69) and fellow Olympians Makoto Sasamoto (GR 58) and Tatsuo Kawai (FS 85). Kazuyuki Miyata, who wrestled at 63 kg in freestyle at the Sydney Games, has moved up a weight and is entered at 69 kg, replacing Takahiro Wada who now serves as one of the national team coaches.
   The greco-roman team also features 2001 Asia champion
Taichi Suga, who won the 76 kg crown in Ulan Bator in June. Kunihiko Obata (76 kg), a bronze medalist in freestyle at the Asian championships, leads the freestyle team.

 Among the coaches selected for the Japanese team are two from the ranks of professional wrestling --
Yuji Nagata, currently with New Japan Pro Wrestling, and former fan favorite Heigo "Animal" Hamaguchi.
Nagata will serve as the personal coach for younger brother Katsuhiko Nagata. The elder Nagata was a greco-roman national champion at 82 kg in 1992 and wrestled in the Asian championships in 1991 (fourth place) and 1992 (fifth) as an assistant coach at Nippon Sports Science University.  He joined pro wrestling in 1992.

Hamaguchi is father to three-time world champion Kyoko Hamaguchi, overseeing his daughter's training and practice sessions at the Hamaguchi Gym in Tokyo.

    The 68-kg position on the women's national squad will be decided at a three-way wrestle-off on August 21 at the team's training camp.
   The national team line-up is as follows: (photos → click)

Male Officials
Chef de mission - Tsutomu Hanahara, Nippon Sports Science University
Greco-roman team leader - Yamato Oshima, Adachi Kodaifu High School (Tochigi)
Greco-roman head coach - Masakazu Hijikata, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department
Greco-roman coach - Hiromichi Ito, Japan Self Defense Forces
                           Hiroshi Kado, Fukuoka University
Freestyle team leader - Yusaku Imaizumi, Tokyo Meriyasu
Freestyle head coach - Hideaki Tomiyama, Nihon University
Freestyle coach - Takahiro Wada, Japan Wrestling Federation
                      Takumi Adachi, NSSU

Greco-roman team
54 kg - Tomoya Murata, Hino Club (Shiga)
58 kg - Makoto Sasamoto, Sogo Security
63 kg - Masaki Imuro, Japan SDF
69 kg - Katsuhiko Nagata, New Japan Pro Wrestling
76 kg - Taichi Suga, Nihon University
85 kg - Shingo Matsumoto, Ichinomiya Transport
97 kg - Yuji Morikaku, NSSU
130 kg - Minoru Hamaue, Miyazaki Nogyo High School

Freestyle team
54 kg - Yuki Nagao, NSSU assistant coach
58 kg - Hiroki Sekikawa, Niigata Prefectural Sports Association
63 kg - Kazuhiko Ikematsu, NSSU
69 kg - Kazuyuki Miyata, Clean-up club
76 kg - Kunihiko Obata, Yamanashi Gakuin University
85 kg - Tatsuo Kawai, Itakura High School (Gunma)
97 kg - Kiyotaka Kodaira, Tokyo MPD
130 kg - Hisashi Fujita, YGU

Female  Officials
Team leader - Shuji Maruyama, Maruyama Co.
Head coach - Saburo Sugiyama, Chukyo Women's University
Coach - Kazuhito Sakae, CWU High School (Aichi)
           Ryo Kanahama, Japan Beverage
Administrative staff - Kazuko Oshima, Josai High School (Tokyo)

Female team
46 kg - Misato Shimizu, Japan Beverage
51 kg - Hitomi Sakamoto, CWU
56 kg - Seiko Yamamoto, NU
62 kg - Rena Iwama, CWU
68 kg - To be decided
75 kg - Kyoko Hamaguchi, Hamaguchi Gym

Special coaches
Men's team - Yuji Nagata, New Japan Pro Wrestling
Women's team - Heigo Hamaguchi, Hamaguchi Gym


    Yamanashi Gakuin University junior
Kunihiko Obata won the Budaev international tourney in Ulan-Ude on July 29 to cap the Japanese freestyle team's tour of Russia. Obata went 4-0, including one default, at 76 kg in the tourney.

    Along with Obata,
Kazuyuki Miyata, Japan's entry at 63 kg at last year's Sydney Olympics, took second at 69 kg while Tomohiro Matsunaga and Kiyotaka Kodaira earned third place at 54 kg and 97 kg, respectively, in the July 27-29 tournament.

Obata also led Japanese wrestlers at the Yarigin Memorial in Krasnoyarsk, Russia on July 20-22, taking a fifth at 76 kg. Kiyofumi Kanabuchi was Japan's only other place winner, grabbing a seventh at 63 kg.


   The Japanese greco-roman national team left for Japan on August 8 to take part in the Pytlasinski international in Wroclaw, Poland on August 9-11.  The team is also planning to train with the Hungarian national team in Hungary in the lead-up to the world championships.


Shinya Matsumoto of Amino High School in Kyoto won at 76 kg in the freestyle competition of the Asian cadet championships July 4-6 in Tehran to successfully defend the title he won in this meet last year.  In greco-roman, Naoyuki Nishio of Osaka Ichiritsu High School took third at 54 kg.


   The Venezuelan women's wrestling national team, including 1993 worldchampion Xiomara Guevara, arrived in Japan on July 15 for a joint training camp with the Japanese national team as well as practice sessions with the Chukyo Women's University team among others.