To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world
By William May
（Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public
Kyodo World Services, senior sports writer：firstname.lastname@example.org）
HAMAGUCHI'S HOPES DASHED IN THE CLINCH
SOFIA (Bulgaria) - Kyoko Hamaguchi slumped to the mat. Her bid to regain
the 75-kg world championship crown undone
in a 3-1 semifinal loss to European champion
Edyta Witkowski of Poland. And then, things got worse.
In the final for third place, Hamaguchi fell to Germany's Nina Englisch in a head-lock and was sent home without
In both losses, Hamaguchi was done in by the clinch rule which was
first instituted in 1998. The former
three-time world champion was thrown in both
cases and while she avoided being pinned
by Witkowska, the points were enough to give the eventual
world champion a 4-1 victory. Against
Englisch, the match ended with one sweeping move
toss that led to the fall.
Since the clinch rule
for women was instituted last year, Hamaguchi and her coaches were not overly concerned
about the development since she always scored
in the first period and then breezed to victory.
Her awkwardness in the clinch in Sofia, however,
revealed a lack of strategy and a lack of
practice in the situation.
Hamaguchi, who has not lost a match by fall since
the 1995 national championships in Japan,
was disheartened. But, after a long
talk with her father Heigo "Animal" Hamaguchi, she was itching to get going again.
For an hour, Hamaguchi was doing push-ups and running and was already
looking ahead to next year's matches.
Men's freestyle head coach
Hideaki Tomiyama sympathized with Hamaguchi, who was disappointed
with failing to win a world championship
for a second straight year. Tomiyama, after
all, was the world champion in 1979 and had
his hopes for an Olympic gold medal dashed
by the U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Moscow
Olympics. In the three years that followed,
Tomiyama failed to stand on the top of the medals
podium at a world meet. Tomiyama, however, overcame his championship drought
with a gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles
Olympics. "The goal is the Olympics.
There is no reason to be disappointed and
lose interest when one is looking ahead to
competing in the Olympics for the first time,"
Tomiyama said. "I hope (Hamaguchi) will think
that 'It's good I lost here,' when its all