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）
IKEMATSU TAKES 3RD, 5 WOMEN GO FOR GOLD
NEW YORK (September 14) - Kazuhiko Ikematsu
rebounded from a disappointing loss in the
semifinals to claim the bronze medal at 66
kg at the freestyle wrestling world championships.
Ikematsu defeated Pan American champion Serguei
Rondon of Cuba 6-5 at Madison Square Garden
to become the first Japanese medalist in
the world championships since 1995.
The Asia No. 2 stepped over a gut wrench
attempt by Rondon for a 6-4 lead late in
their bronze medal bout and then held on
for the win despite a “fleeing the hold”
penalty. Japanese wrestlers have won medals
at the Olympic Games in 1996 and 2000, but
the last medals won by Japan at the world
championships were silver medals by Takahiro
Wada (freestyle, 62 kg) and Hiroshi Kado
(greco-roman, 48 kg) in 1995.
Earlier in the semifinal round, Ikematsu
was overwhelmed 10-1 by European champion
Irbek Farniev of Russia.
Meanwhile, all five Japanese women in the
semifinals swept into the gold medal matches
where Kyoko Hamaguchi will be seeking her
fifth world title and Seiko Yamamoto will
be trying for V4. The last time Japan had
as many as five women in the championship
finals was 1994, when there were nine weight
categories and Japan won six gold medals.