To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world
By Ikuo Higuchi
(Japanese wrestling journalist)
Transratiion: Kenji Suetsugu
C.Nordhagen: "I will beat Hamaguchi"with confidence!!
Teams of female wrestlers landed at Narita
Airport from Canada, Germany, Russia and
China on Oct. 9th to compete at "KATOKICHI's
Cup 2003 Female Wrestling World Cup"(held
in Yoyogi Daini GYm, Tokyo on Oct.11th and
12th). Christina Nordhagen, a top wrestler
of Canadian team, is one of them. She has
won the world championship for six consecutive
years at 72kg for the first time in the history
of wrestling. Nordhagen expressed her unusually
strong intention to beat Hamaguchi, saying
"I will never lose to Hamaguchi."
Nordhagen is one of the world's top wrestler.
She became the world champion for the first
time in 1994 and since then she has continuously
maitained her position as the world's top
wrestler. She was an idol wrestler of Hamaguchi.
In 1997, Hamaguchi beat Nordhagen in the
1997 world championship for the first time
after she competed against Nordhargen twice
before. In the world championship in 1996,
Hamaguchi competed against Nordhagen. Even
though the match resulted in Hamaguchi's
defeat by fall in the end, she fought very
well against Nordhagen. After this match,
Hamaguchi felt confident that she would be
able to beat her good opponent next time.
Later, the weight category system was
modified. Nordhagen and Hamaguchi became
the worldchampion in the different weight
categories of 68kg and 75kg respectively
in 1998. However, the two wrestlers must
have thought that they wanted to become the
world champion by defeating each other. In
1999, the two wrestlers had to face their
destiny and Nordhagen changed her weight
category up to 72kg and challenged to compete
wrestlers at 72kg. When she changed her category,
Nordhagen said, " I just want to test
myself as a wrestler in the different category.
That's the reason."
Nordhagen at a light category challenged
Hamaguchi at a heavy category or the new
worldchampion, Hagaguchi challenged Nordhagen,
experienced world champion. Only God knows.
The two wrestlers competed in the 1999 world
championship They showed a fierce competition
which resulted in the victory of Hamaguchi.
She at last defeated Nordhagen and the victory
brought a feeling of pleasure to Hamaguchi.
On the contrary, the defeat made Nordhagen
cancel her prescheduled plan. Nordhagen who
had originally planned to stop wrestling
and take care of her family after the 1999
world championship postponed this plan and
participated in the next year's world championship
at 72 again. In this world championship,
Nordhagen and Hamaguchi showed a fierce competition
which turned out the victory of Nordhagen.
It was Hamaguchi's turn to have no satisfaction
and she hoped that Nordhagen would participate
in the next world championship at 72kg. But,
Nordhagen competed at 68kg and won the championship
at the category. On the other hand, Hamaguchi
who competed at 75kg failed to win the world
championship and, what was worse, she took
the 4th place. It meant a defeat to Hamaguchi.
After this 1999 world championship, Nordhagen
started taking care of her family. She stopped
wrestling due to her injury on her knees
and did not attend the world championship.
During this time, the two wrestlers had no
chance to complete with each other.
It seemed that the two wrestlers were
no longer destined to compete with each other.
However, the thread of destine was not
broken. God gave them a hardest test before
the Athens Olympic Games in which the sport
of female wrestling with only four categories,
not all the seven categories, has been adopted
as an official Olympic game. Nordhagen, who
aimed to win the gold medal in the Athens
Olympic Games, decided to take participate
in the Game at 72kg.
To win the gold medal in Olympic Game means
to beat Hamaguchi for her. In the 2003 Female
Wrestling World Cup, which is a team competition,
not an individual match, Nordhagen will surely
put all her energy to the match against Hamaguchi
as her preliminary skirmish for Athens Olympic
In fact, the two wrestlers had a first
bout after two and half years in an international
championship held in Klippan(Sweden) this
March and Hamaguchi beat Nordhagen by fall.
Judging only from the result of their
match in Sweden, we can sau that Hamaguchi
has become a stronger wrestler than Nordhagen.
Hamaguchi improved herself in these 2 and
half years and come back to the world champion
(fourth time) and Nordhagen left from wrestling
scene due to injury for a long time.
When asked about her defeat in Sweden,
Nordhagen denied definitely, saying, "I
was in the worst condition at that time.
Due to my injury, I couldn't have enough
training. So it might have been logical for
me to be beaten. " Nordhargen failed
to win against Ophenewa Aqfor (spell unconfirmed)
in the Canadian Championship held two months
later. So it seemed that the long blank due
to her injury.
It seems that a top athlete has capability
of getting herself cured in the quickest
way. "This time is quite different from
that time. I'm in the best condition. I've
trained myself so hard and I won't lose against
her this time." said Nordhagen. When
she hear someone point out, 'Hamaguchi seems
to gain confidence by beating Nordhagen with
pin fall,' she says that she is confident
to beat her, too. Does her confidence come
from the fact that Nordhagen has two wins
and one loss against Hamaguchi except for
matches she had when she had injury? Or does
he just inspire herself by saying "I
won't lose against Hamaguchi," since
she tries very hard to win the gold medal
in Athens Games?
A couple of hours after Nordhagen landed
at Narita Airport, Toccara Montgomery arrived
from from USA. She admired Hamaguchi, saying
"Hamaguchi is a splendid wrestler. She
is a big wall to me and I still cannot her
weakpoints." At the same time, Anita
Schatzle, the European champion from Germany,
does not seem to talk more about Haguchi,
saying "I'm not familiar with Hamaguchi."
Both of them does not say that they will
beat Hamaguchi. Only Nordhagen does. The
32 years old Canadian wrestler once seemed
not to be included among Hamaguchi's rivals
due to her age, but now we can say that the
strongest rival for Hamaguchi is Nordhagen.
When people said to Nordhagen, "Japanese
Wrestling world is very much interested in
the match between Nordhagen and Hamaguchi,"
she says with smile, "I'm the most interested
in it." It is certain that Nordhagen
fixes her goal at "to beat Hamaguchi"
and "to win the gold medal at Athens