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 Games.

  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 Olympic Games."