To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


NYIREGYHAZA, Hungary (March 2-3) - Makoto Sasamoto defeated an East Asian Games gold medalist and European champion at the Hungarian Grand Prix greco-roman tournament to claim his second title on the Japanese national team's winter tour of Europe. Sasamoto, who won the inaugural Demokritia Tournament in Greece in February, edged Kang Kyung-Il of South Korea 3-0 in the semifinals at 60 kg and then came back with a 9-6 victory over Petr Svehla of the Czech Republic for the championship.

    Also for Japan, Masaki Imuro took sixth place at 66 kg and Taichi Suga was seventh at 74 kg.

    National team coach Hiroshi Kado remarked after the tournament "The tournament featured some of the top wrestlers in the world with Russia, Turkey, Korea, Poland and Hungary among the 22 countries taking part." 
   "For Sasamoto, this was a big victory since he defeated last year's gold medalist from the East Asian Games (in Osaka) and the European champion from the Czech Republic."

    In the semifinal against Kang, Sasamoto got a gut wrench in the first period for a 2-0 and then was awarded a third point when his opponent did not take the correct clinch position to start the overtime period. During the course of the semifinal, Sasamoto was put in the par terre position twice and held off the scoring attempts of Kang, who had defeated Sasamoto 4-2 last May for the East Asian Games crown.

    In the final, Sasamoto spotted Svehla six points in the first period but came back with a penalty point and front headlock to cut the deficit to three points midway through the second period.

    Sasamoto then converted from the par terre position with a high-arching reverse waist-lock and throw for six points and the victory.

    Japanese results

    55 kg - MURATA, Tomoya (12th, 13 entries
1R - lost 0-3, 6:08 to Igor Kurylo, Ukraine
2R - bye
3R - lost 0-6  Ozdemir Bayram, Turkey
    60 kg - SASAMOTO, Makoto (1st, 15 entries)
1R - won 5-0 Henadzi Besarabi, Belarus
2R - won 5-1 Aleksei Ogorodnikov, Russia
3R - bye
SF - won 3-0 Kang Kyung-Il, Korea
FINAL - won 9-6 Petr Svehla, Czech Republic
    66 kg - IMURA, Masaki (6th, 27 entries)
1R - bye
2R - won 3-2 James Shillow, U.S.
3R - won 3-1 Andris Jaros, Czech Republic
QF - lost TF 0-11, 2:40 Sergei Kolitarev, Russia
    74 kg - NAGATA, Katsuhiko (23rd, 27 entries)
1R - bye
2R - lost 0-2, OT 9:00 Michal Jaworski, Poland
3R - lost 2-5 Daniel Khalilov, Russia
    74 kg - SUGA, Taichi (7th, 27 entries)
1R - bye
2R - won by fall 2:30 Altay Mahmut, Turkey
3R - won 3-2 Christian Eyer, France
QF - lost 0-7 Sergy Krapyvkin, Ukraine
    84 kg - MATSUMOTO, Shingo (17th, 32 entries)
1R - won 3-1  Bojan Mijatov, Yugoslavia
2R - bye
3R - lost 3-8 Marcin Letki, Poland


FAENZA, Italy (March 9-10) - Shingo Matsumoto capped Japan's tour of Europe with a second place in the Milan Trophy tournament while Tomoya Murata added a third place.  Makoto Sasamoto, seeking a third straight title in Europe, lost to Germany's Eduard Kratz and failed to advance beyond his preliminary group.

    Matsumoto, runner-up in last year's Asian championships, handed 2000 junior world champion at 76 kg Istvan Szabo of Hungary a 4-0 defeat in a semifinal bout at 84 kg. In the title match, Matsumoto scored three quick points with an arm throw to open the match but then fell 4-3 to Kim Jung-Sub after the Korean wrestler chipped away at Matsumoto's lead and scored with a late one-point gut wrench for the win.

     At 55 kg, Murata lost 7-6 to Korea's Kim Dae-Won in the semifinals, but stormed back for a 4-0 win against Jan Hocko of the Czech Republic in the consolation final for third place.

    In other action, Sasamoto was involved in a controversial decision and came out on the short end of a 3-2 decision with Kratz, a fifth-place finisher in the 1999 junior world championships. Sasamoto came back for a pair of technical falls to snare sixth place overall.
    Katsuhiko Nagata, meanwhile, sat out the competition after injuring his knee at the training camp in Hungary.

   Japanese results:

   55 kg - MURATA, Tomoya (3rd, 15th entries)
1R - bye
2R - won TF 12-0, 5:36 Vinzenzo Pira, Italy
3R - won 3-2 Tibor Olah, Hungary
SF - lost 6-7  Im Dae-Won, Korea
3/4 FINAL - won 4-0 Jan Hocko, Czech Republic
   60 kg - SASAMOTO, Makoto (6th, 17 entries)
1R - lost 2-3 Eduard Kratz, Germany
2R - won TF 12-0, 4:59 Robert Sollie, Norway
3R - won TF 12-0, 3:26 Joaquin Martinez, Spain
   66 kg - IMURA, Masaki (21 entries)
1R - bye
2R - lost 2-3, OT (time not available) Ivan Kron, Switzerland
3R - lost TF 0-10, 3:30 Seref Eroglu, Turkey
   74 kg - SUGA, Taichi (23 enttries)
1R - won 6-2 Michal Hanak, Czech Republic
2R - bye
3R - lost 0-6 Srymoi Kogut, Poland
   84 kg - MATSUMOTO, Shingo (2nd, 20 entries)
1R - won by fall 0:45 Ivanov Stoianov, Bulgaria
2R - won 7-0 Nabil Elnarde, France
3R - won by fall 4:34 Kosta Kostanjevic, Croatia
SF - won 4-0 Istvan Szabo, Hungary
FINAL - lost 3-4 Kim Jung-Sub, Korea


TOKYO - The Japanese freestyle team, meanwhile, was less successful on its tour of Europe. Tomohiro Matsunaga (55 kg) and Kazuhiko Miyata (66) each compiled 4-1 records to earn runner-up honors at the Yasar Dogu tourney in Ankara, Turkey, March 2-3.

    The following week in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, however, the Japanese team failed to place anyone in the upper ranks at the Ivan Yarigin meet.


TOKYO (March 18) - The Japan Wrestling Federation has decided to budget 5 million yen (about $37,600) for training camps this summer for the world's top women's wrestlers in preparation for this year's Asian Games, world championships and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

The Federation will also pay the cost for hotel accommodations for the foreign wrestlers.  The training camps will be held in late July at the National Sports Science Center and the Nihon University training camp site in Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture.

About 65 of the world's top female wrestlers will be invited to the camps, including three-time world champion Seiko Yamamoto and Kyoko Hamaguchi, seeking to regain the world championship crown.


NIIGATA (March 27-29) - Numazu Gakuen high school of Shizuoka Prefecture improved on last year's second-place finish in the national high school invitational wrestling tournament with a 5-2 victory over Akita Shogyo in the championship final.

    Meanwhile, Shinya Matsumoto of Amino high school in Kyoto Prefecture won the invitational championship at 76 kg for a second straight year.

    After five of the individual titles went to wrestlers from Kyoto last year, this year the championships were more evenly distributed with only two titles going to Kyoto and two to Kanoya Chuo in Kagoshima Prefecture.


    Championship final
Numazu Gakuen (Shizuoka) 5-2 Akita Shogyo (Akita)
Numazu Gakuen (Shizuoka) 4-3 Kanoya Chuo (Kagoshima)
Akita Shogyo (Akita) 4-3 Ginan Kogyo (Gifu)
Kanoya Chuo (Kagoshima) 6-2 Kasumigaseki (Ibaraki)
Numazu Gakuen (Shizuoka) 4-3 Tadotsu Kogyo (Kagawa)
Akita Shogyo (Akita) 6-1 Gifu Kogyo (Gifu)
Ginan Kogyo (Gifu) 4-3 Tamana Kogyo (Kumamoto)
    Individual finals
  50 - Kyo Yamaguchi, Kyoto dec. Hajime Yumoto, Wakayama
  54 - Kenichi Yumoto, Wakayama TF Kazuhiko Tomita, Kagoshima
  58 - Noriyuki Takatsuka, Ibaraki dec. Daigo Fujinaga, Kyoto
  63 - Hiroaki Suzuki, Kagoshima dec. Masaaki Inoue, Gifu
  69 - Naoki Akimoto, Akita def. Eiji Takagi, Gifu
  76 - Shinya Matsumoto, Kyoto fall Shigeo Watanabe, Ehime
  85 - Takao Isokawa, Oita default Ryoichi Yamagata, Kanagawa
130 - Akira Iwamoto, Kagoshima by fall Tomoshi Akiyama, Shizuoka