To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


PATRAS (Greece) - Olympic silver medalist Katsuhiko Nagata was stunned with an upset loss to unheralded Moises Sanchez of Spain on Friday at the 46th greco-roman wrestling world championships. Nagata forged a 2-0 lead at the break of his 69-kg match at Dimitrios Tofalos Stadium in the Greek port city, but let the young Spaniard take control of the second period with a six-point back-arching throw on his way to a stunning 9-2 victory.

    Nagata's loss, coupled with Sanchez' earlier 5-3 win over Endrix Arteaga, guarantees that the Spanish grappler will advance to championship bracket while the runner-up at last year's Sydney Olympics will head for home empty-handed. "I took my opponent too lightly and then got overly excited (in the second period," Nagata said after the bout.

    The Japanese team captain, seeking to wrap up the bout in regulation, gambled he could score the needed third point with a gut wrench early in the second period, only to slip underneath Sanchez and fall to his shoulders, making the score 2-2.

    Sanchez came back with a lift and high-arching throw that put Nagata on his back for an 8-2 lead and then added an insurance point with another lift and throw. "Really, all I can say now is that I will try and do my best in the future.  I never want to let this kind of thing happen again," Nagata said dejectedly after the loss.

    Also on Friday, Makoto Sasamoto, who finished eighth at the Sydney Olympics, launched his bid for a medal at 58 kg with three under-arm spins and an 11-2 victory over Hugo Passos of Portugal. A win over Ravinder Singh of India on Saturday will likely put Sasamoto into the championship bracket against two-time Olympic champion Armen Nazarian of Bulgaria, who breezed to two easy wins on Friday.

    Japan national team newcomer Tomoya Murata, meanwhile, failed in his bid for a berth in the quarterfinals at 54 kg, falling to Khatri Mukesh of India 7-1 in the first round of the championship playoffs. Murata spotted the 19-year-old Asia junior champion a six-point lead in the first period of the 54-kg match and could not make up the difference in the second three-minute stanza, settling for ninth place in the lightest weight category.

    Murata, a 24-year-old school teacher from Shiga, had qualified for the championship bracket with wins over Turkish veteran Bayram Ozdemir, 3-1 in overtime, and Anders Nyblom of Denmark (3-0) on Thursday. Mukesh, meanwhile, fell 4-3 to Olympic silver medalist Lazaro Rivas of Cuba in the quarterfinals.

    At 85 kg, another national team debutante Shingo Matsumoto opened with a technical fall win over Jerry Van De Pool of the Netherlands, but lost his second match to Olympic silver medalist Sandor Bardosi of Hungary, 3-2 in overtime.

    At 63 kg, two-time world champion at 58 kg Kim In-Sub of South Korea moved into the 63-kg semifinals along with Michael Beilin of Israel, Olympic runner-up Juan Maren of Cuba and Armenia's Vagninak Galustyan.At 69 kg, Olympic champion Filiberto Azcuy breezed to a pair of wins, while Olympic bronze medalist Alexei Gloushkove of Russia also advanced with two easy wins. At 76 kg, European champion Alexei Mishine of Russia and runner-up Ara Abrahamian of Sweden booked berths in the semifinals along with Korea's Kim Jin-Soo and Sergiy Solodkyy of Ukraine.

    Two-time Olympic champion Hamza Yerlikaya opened with a win at 85 kg and American Matt Lindland, a silver medalist in Sydney at 76 kg, found a heavier weight category to his liking with a 7-0 win over Bojan Mijatov of Yugoslavia.

    European champion Alexandre Bezroutchikine of Russia edged into the semifinals with a 2-1 overtime win over Aleksey Cheglakov of Uzbekistan. At 130 kg, Olympic champion Rulon Gardner of the United State fashioned a 3-0 win over Yuriy Yevseychyk of Israel while European champion Mihaly Deak-Bardos of Hungary and perennial challenger Sergei Moureyko of Bulgaria also posted early wins.