To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


MOSCOW (September 22) - Makoto Sasamoto's bid to improve on his world ranking ended before it even got going as the Japanese ace was stunned with a loss by technical superiority at the 2002 greco-roman wrestling world championships in Moscow on September 22.Sasamoto, who finished in seventh place at the world meet last year, lost 10-0 to Asledin Khudoyberdiev of Uzbekistan in the first round of the championship bracket at 60 kg and was forced to settle for an 11th place ranking in the field of 37 wrestlers.

  Sasamoto, Japan's only entry to advance beyond the preliminary groups in the meet, never got going against the 36-year-old veteran from Tashkent and was hit with a passivity call 1:13 into the match at Universal Sport Hall CSKA in Moscow. Khudoyberdiev, who was a silver medalist in the 1999 Asian championships, converted with a trap-arm gut wrench and went to a lift-and-throw for a quick six points. A penalty point and another lift-and-drop by the Uzbek brought an end the match at 2:23.

  Khudoyberdiev, however, lost 6-4 in the quarterfinals to Cuba's Roberto Monzon, the eventual bronze medal winner. In other action, 2000 Olympic champion at 63 kg Varteres Samourgashev of Russia used a pair of back-arching throws to prevail against two-time Olympic gold medalist Filiberto Ascuy of Cuba 7-2 in a semifinal match at 74 kg.

  Ascuy won the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics at 74 kg and then went down to 69 kg for another title at the Sydney Games two years ago. In the final at 74 kg, Samourgashev earned Russia's second gold medal of the championships while exacting a measure of revenge by backing Badri Khasaia of Georgia out-of-bounds in overtime for the third and final point in a 3-0 victory.
Samourgashev lost to Khasaia in the final of the European championships in April.

  In the bronze medal match, Ascuy defeated Volodymir Shatskikh of Ukraine 5-1 with a high back-arching throw in the final minute. Russia's other two hopes on the final day of the championships -- Rustem Mambetov and Yuri Patrikeev -- however, failed to reach the tournament finals.

  Mambetov lost to two-time Pan America champion Monzon 5-0 in a first round match at 55 kg and Patrikeyev lost to Mihaly Deak-Bardos of Hungary in the semifinals at 120 kg in a reversal of their meeting for this year's European championships crown.

  Patrikeyev rebounded for the bronze medal with a 9-4 win over Xenofon Koutsioubas of Greece. Deak-Bardos, meanwhile, fell to American entry Dremiel Byers 3-0 in the championship final, settling for a world silver medal for the second straight year while Byers stretched the American winning streak at wrestling's heaviest weight to three gold medals in a row.

  At 55 kg, two-time Olympic champion Armen Nazarian of Bulgaria picked his first world championship title with a 3-0 victory over Wlodzimierz Zawadzki of Poland. Monzon won the bronze medal for the second year in a row with a 3-0 win over Ukraine's Oleksandr Khwosch.

  At 96 kg, Turkey's Mekhmet Ozal outlasted Egypt's Karam Mohamed Gaber Ibragim in a wide-open affair 15-11 to add a gold medal to the bronze he won a year ago. Ali Mollov of Bulgaria, who upset defending world champion Alexander Bezruchkin of Russia in the preliminaries, defeated 2001 silver medalist Ernesto Pena of Cuba 4-0 for the bronze medal and his best-ever international showing.