To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


SOFIA (Bulgaria) - Hitomi Sakamoto and Seiko Yamamoto, likely to be favorites when women's wrestling becomes an official Olympic event in 2004, cruised to world championship titles at the combined freestyle world meet for men and women November 22-25.

Sakamoto, FILA's female wrestler of the year in 2000, recorded three pins and a technical fall on her way to her second straight world title at 51 kg while Yamamoto, the 1999 world champion at 51 kg, defeated Russia's Liubov Volosova in overtime for her second straight crown at 56 kg.

    In the team standings, however, China -- which won a gold, silver and bronze -- edged Japan by three points for the team title.
Kyoko Hamaguchi, meanwhile, bidding for her fourth world title at 75 kg, lost a pair of matches on the final day of the competition and had to settle for fourth place.

    In the men's freestyle competition, none of Japan's eight entries advanced beyond the preliminary rounds, but coaches were pleased with
Hiroki Sekikawa's 3-0 win at 58 kg over 1999 world champion Harun Dogan of Turkey. Kazuyuki Miyata, meanwhile, took Iran's Amir Tavakolian into overtime before falling 7-6 to the eventual silver medalist at 69 kg.


VANCOUVER (Canada) - Former world champion Shoko Yoshimura and Shingo Hirai set the pace for a select team of company team wrestlers from Japan by winning championships at the Clansman International tourney in Vancouver, Canada, November 9-10.

Yoshimura won the women's title at 46 kg while Hirai won the men's 58 kg championship with a victory over Japanese compatriot Hisashi Kawamoto. Hirai's teammate with the Sogo Keibi security company also took a second place for Japan at 54 kg while Kazuhiro Hamanaka added a third silver medal at 85 kg as the Japanese team tied Canada's Team Impact for the team title. Simon Fraser won the women's team title.


LEVALLOIS (France) - Hitomi Sakamoto, Seiko Yamamoto and Kyoko Hamaguchi went undefeated in six bouts and Japan won the inaugural World Cup of women's wrestling competition in Levallois, France on November 3-4.

    Japan defeated host France 5-1 and edged China on criteria after a 3-3 draw. Japan also downed Tunisia 5-1; Canada 4-2; the United States 5-1 and Russia 4-2 to sweep through the field unbeaten.
Yamamoto was named the outstanding wrestler of the competition held in
conjunction with the men's greco-roman World Cup.