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) - Japan's Makoto Sasamoto pinned Asian junior champion Ravinder Singh of India on Saturday to move into the quarterfinals of the 46th greco-roman wrestling world championships at 58 kg. Sasamoto, an eighth-place finisher at last year's Sydney Olympics, forged a 5-0 lead in the first period of his final preliminary round matchagainst Singh at Dimitrios Tofalos Stadium.

    The 23-year-old Kanagawa native then got rolling in the second period, opening with a tight underarm spin and throw for three points and then spinning with the arm on the mat a couple more times until Singh was flat only 22 seconds into the stanza.

    The victory gives
Sasamoto a chance to measure his improvement over the past year against two-time Olympic champion Armen Nazarian of Bulgaria, who defeated the Nippon Sports Science University graduate 11-0 in the preliminaries in Sydney.

    Meanwhile, Japanese Olympic silver medalist
Katsuhiko Nagata rebounded from Friday night's shocking loss at 69 kg to Moises Sanchez of Spain with a workmanlike 4-1 win over Venezuela's Endrix Arteaga. The former Tokyo police officer and Japanese team captain, however, failed to advance beyond the preliminaries and settled for 13th place.

    Japanese national team newcomer
Shingo Matsumoto had a bye at 85 kg, but saw his chance for a berth in the championship bracket evaporate when Olympic silver medalist Sandor Bardosi of Hungary rolled to a 12-0 technical fall win over Jerry Van De Pool of the Netherlands. Matsumoto, who posted a technical fall over Van De Pool on Friday, finished in 13th place.

    In the first evening of gold medal finals,
Ara Abrahamian of Sweden avenged a loss to Russia's Alexei Mishine in the European championship final with a pin, nailing the 1999 junior world champion with a throw out of the clinch at 5:04 of the 76-kg final.

Kim Jin-Soo of Korea landed on top of a headlock attempt by Ukraine's Sergiy Solodkyy to claim a 3-0 win six seconds into overtime of the bronze-medal match.

    At 54 kg, Asia No. 2
Hassan Rangraz of Iran used a late trap-arm gut wrench for four points to pull away for an 8-4 win over Brandon Paulson of the United States for the gold medal. Defending world champion and Olympic silver medalist Lazaro Rivas took third place with a 3-1 win over Uran Kalilov of Kyrgyzstan.

    At 63 kg,
Vaghinar Galustyan of Armenia caught Korea's Kim In-Sub with a deep waist bodylock and converted with a drop and then a gut wrench for eight points in the first period to score an 8-3 triumph over the former two-time 58-kg world champion. Israel's Michael Beilin, a bronze medal winner in 1999, scored a 3-0 win over two-time Olympic silver medalist Juan Maren of Cuba for third place.

    At 97 kg, European champion
Alexandre Bezroutchkine of Russia raced out to a six-point lead in the first minute of the final and then cruised to a 7-0 victory over Cuba's Pan American kingpin Ernesto Pena. Turkey's Mehmet Ozal took home the bronze with a 7-5 win over Petru Sudureac of Romania.

    Also on Saturday, Olympic heavyweight champion
Rulon Gardner of the United States forged a 3-0 win over Ukraine's Georgiy Soldadse to advance to the quarterfinals in the 130-kg weight category. Joining the Wyoming dairy farmer in the elite eight are European champion Mihaly Deak-Bardos of Hungary, 1996 Olympic bronze medalist Sergej Mureiko of Bulgaria and 1999 junior world champion Yuri Patrikeev of Russia.

    Two-time Olympic and world champion
Hamza Yerlikaya, however, was knocked out of the tournament in the first-round of the championship bracket at 85 kg with a 6-4 loss to Martin Lidberg of Sweden, a seventh-place finisher in Sydney.