To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


  PUSAN, Korea (October 2-8) - Japan won three gold medals at the 2002 Asian Games in Pusan, Korea -- its first multi-gold medal effort since 1990 in the regional version of the Olympic Games. Shingo Matsumoto came from behind in the greco-roman championship final at 84 kg to snare the gold medal with an overtime decision over local favorite Kim Jung-Sub.

  Matsumoto, who had to settle for the silver medal behind a Korean opponent at last year's Asian championships in Ulan Bator, fell behind Kim after a disputed three-point throw in the first period in the final. Matsumoto remained unfazed, however, and drew even with a reverse waistlock and throw in the second period and then scored at 8:23 in overtime to secure a 4-3 victory.

  "I expected Kim to come out firing in the first period with the backing of the local crowd, but I believed that I would be able to find my rhythm in the second period," Matsumoto said. Even though he trailed after the first period, Matsumoto said he was able to remain calm since "I was confident that I would be able to turn the match around with my reverse waistlock."

  The gold medal was Japan's first in Asian Games wrestling since Takahiro Wada won at 62 kg in freestyle in 1994 and the first in greco-roman since Shigeki Nishiguchi won at 62 kg at the Beijing Games in 1990. Meanwhile in the Asian Games' inaugural female wrestling tourney, Saori Yoshida and Kyoko Hamaguchi won two of the four gold medals at stake while

  Kaori Icho took the silver medal for Japan in her international debut.Yoshida recorded a fall and rolled to three wins by technical superiority to win the gold medal in the five-way round robin competition at 55 kg while Hamaguchi pinned three of four opponents on her way to the 72-kg crown.

  Icho, however, fell behind China's Xu Haiyuan by six points in the first period of the 63-kg final and had to settle for the silver medal after coming up a point short in a 6-5 decision.

  Women's wrestling, which will make its Olympic debut in the 2004 Games in Athens, was contested in the four weight categories designated for Olympic competition. Along with Xu, China won the other gold medal up for grabs with former world champion Zhong Xiue taking the 48-kg title.

  Also in greco-roman, Japan's Makoto Sasamoto took the bronze medal at 60 kg for Japan while Olympic silver medal winner Katsuhiko Nagata (69 kg) could only manage a fifth place at 74 kg. In freestyle, Chikara Tanabe upset Atlanta Olympic bronze medalist Maulen Mamyrov of Kazakhstan -- his first win in four meetings with Mamyrov -- but lost to junior world champion Dilshod Mansurov of Uzbekistan in the championship bout at 55 kg.


  CAIRO (October 19-20) - Defending champion Japan cruised to six wins without a loss and won the second World Cup of women's wrestling. Russia was second in the seven-team round robin competition with China third and Ukraine fourth.

  Four of Japan's wrestlers -- Misato Shimizu (48), Seiko Yamamoto (55), Rena Iwama (59) and Kaori Icho (63) -- finished the tournament with perfect 6-0 records. Kyoko Hamaguchi, meanwhile, dropped a decision to Canada's Akuffo Ohenewa, but finished on top of the individual rankings at 72 kg on classification points with a 5-1 mark. Ninako Hattori (51) and Norie Saito (67) both finished the competition with three wins against three losses.


  HALKIDA, Greece (October 30) - Tomiaki Fukuda became Japan's second vice president of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) at the FILA Bureau meeting on the eve of the women's wrestling world championships. Fukuda, the chairman of the board of directors with the Japan Wrestling Federation, was elected to replace former vice president Raphy Martinetti who replaced Milan Ercegan as FILA president at the FILA Congress meeting in Moscow in September.

  Fukuda had been elected to a second term on the FILA Bureau at the meeting in Moscow and became the second FILA vice president from Japan after JWF president Shozo Sasahara. "I was surprised with the election (to vice president)," Fukuda said prior to the women's world meet, which got under way on November 2. "I now want to work hard to protect both styles of wrestling after the program commission of the International Olympic Committee has proposed the elimination of greco-roman or freestyle for the Olympics," Fukuda said. "I also want to work toward having all seven weight categories in women's wrestling contested at the 2008 Beijing Olympics since only four weight categories will be contested in Athens in 2004."


  SUKUMO, Kochi (October 27-30) - Shinya Matsumoto of Amino high school in Kyoto completed an unprecedented three-year sweep of all of the major high school wrestling titles in Japan with four pins at 76 kg in freestyle at the National Sports Festival tournament.

  A number of other wrestlers have swept the titles in the national high school invitational, national high school championship and national sports festival over their last two years in high school, but Matsumoto is the first wrestler to win all eight of the championships he entered.

  Matsumoto did not qualify for the high school invitational tournament in his first year of high school since the competition is held in March before the start of the academic year.


  TOKYO (October 17-18) - Bunsei Murakami added won his second collegiate greco-roman title of the year at 55 kg to lead Takushoku University to its third straight team title in the collegiate greco-roman wrestling national championship tournament.

  Murakami, who also won in the collegiate open tourney in August, was joined by Ikuo Usuda (66) and Naoki Sawada (120) as Takushoku outpointed rival Nippon Sports Science University 57-39. Aoyama Gakuin University took third place with 31 points.

  Meanwhile, Kanagawa University sophomore Kazuhiro Masuda took the title
at 84 kg to become the first wrestler from the school to win a national
collegiate crown.