To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world
By William May
（Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public
Kyodo World Services, senior sports writer：email@example.com）
HAMAGUCHI, JAPAN REGAIN TITLES AT WOMEN'S
HALKIDA, Greece (November 3) - Kyoko Hamaguchi regained her world heavyweight
crown and Japan won its 10th team title with
three individual champions in the 15th women's
wrestling world championships.
Hamaguchi, who reigned as world champion
from 1997 to 1999, dropped China's Wang Xu
to her back out of a second-period clinch
at Tassos Kabouris Stadium to win the 72-kg
final 5-1 and claim her fourth world championship
crown. Hamaguchi's victory capped a golden
evening for Japan which saw Japanese debutantes
Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho win their first
world titles for Japan which regained the
team championship it lost to China a year
Japan, which scored 47 points, won its
10th team title since the women's world championships
were inaugurated in 1987. Sweden was second
was 34 points and Russia third with 32.
Hamaguchi, who finished in third place
in the 2000 world meet and in fourth a year
ago, also upended 2001 world champion Edyta
Witkowska 4-0 in the semifinals to gain a
measure of revenge for a loss to the Polish
wrestler a year ago. Witkowska, the lone
defending champion in this year's championships,
came back for a 2-0 win over Turkey's Sarife
Yildirim for the bronze medal.
"I feel relieved. It's been tough,
but everything went just as we had practiced,"
Hamaguchi said. "It's also been a tough
fall (with the Asian Games, World Cup and
world championships), so now I just want
to get home and relax."
At 55 kg, Yoshida hit a pair of double-leg
takedowns for three points each as she raced
out to a 7-0 lead in the championship final
and then held off a determined Tina George
of the United States for a 10-4 victory.
"As a Japanese national team member,
the only thing I was thinking about was winning,"
said Yoshida. "But, I've never wrestled
anyone as strong as (George) before, so I
was a little frightened. Still, I learned
that I have to be ready for all kinds of
Yoshida also romped in the morning session
with a pair of wins by technical superiority
-- 11-0 over Jennifer Ryz of Canada in the
quarters and 10-0 over Ida-Theres Karlsson
of Sweden in the semifinals. Yoshida, who
won the Asian Games gold medal in October,
remained undefeated against non-Japanese
Karlsson rolled 7-1 over Konstantina
Tsibanakou of Greece for third place.
Icho, meanwhile, pinned Swedish veteran Sara
Eriksson to claim her second win of the day
over a European champion and the world title
at 63 kg. The 18-year-old Aomori native locked
up Eriksson with a bar arm one minute into
the second period and pried the former two-time
world champion over for the fall.
"It might sound funny, but after
I lost in the Asian Games (in October), it
made me stronger because I went home to think
about it and became more focused," Icho
said. "I want to keep this title now
for the next 10 years."
Eriksson, 10 years Icho's senior, was the
continental champion at 59 kg in April and
was seeking her third world title after winning
back-to-back crowns in 1995 and 1996. Icho
also edged Malgorzata Bassa of Poland, the
European champion at 63 kg, 4-1 in the quarterfinals
and then forged a 3-0 win over Europe No.
2 Lene Aanes of Norway in the semifinals.
Icho's elder sister, Chiharu Icho, however,
had to settle for the silver medal after
losing points in two separate clinch situations
in a 3-0 overtime loss at 51 kg to Greece's
Sofia Poumbouridou. Earlier, Icho claimed
a 4-0 decision over Natalie Golts of Russia
with a headlock out of the clinch in the
semifinals. The 17-year-old Golts rebounded
for the bronze medal with a 3-0 win over
Lyndsay Belisle of Canada.
Japan's lone loss in the quarterfinals
came when Pan American champion Mabel Fonseca
of Puerto Rico dropped Rena Iwama to her
back in extra time to break a 1-1 tie and
claim a 4-1 victory at 59 kg. Fonseca later
earned the bronze medal with a 3-1 win, again
in overtime, against France's Seve Sandrine.
In the 59-kg final, Alena Cartshova of Russia
blocked a back-arching throw by Sweden's
Lotta Andersson to come out with a 4-0 victory
and her first world title.
At 48 kg, Brigitte Wagner of Germany
scored with a front headlock-and-turn with
only five seconds remaining in the final
to snare a 4-3 win from Russia's Inga Karamchakova.
Sweden's Ida Hellstrom pinned junior European
champion Nicoleta Badea of Romania for the
At 67 kg, Katerina Burmistrova of Ukraine
slipped behind out of an overtime clinch
to claim her first world title with a 3-2
win over three-time European champion Lise
Legrand of France. American Kristie Marano
took the bronze medal with a 6-1 win over
Evelina Pruszko of Poland.