To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


   TOKYO (JULY 24) - The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) has decided to give 34 million yen in support to Japan痴 women wrestlers as likely gold medal winners at the upcoming Athens Olympic Games. The money was part of the 330 million yen budgeted by the Japanese Education Ministry for the Japan Revival Project. Judo received the lion's share of the Olympic revival money with 72 million yen while swimming received the second largest slice of 60.5 million yen.

  The women's wrestlers earned the third largest chunk of the support money, followed by speed skating (31 million yen) and athletics (17 million yen). Five other sports federations received money from the project as likely silver and bronze medal winners in the Olympics.

  The JOC gave 10 million yen in support for each gold medal it expects a sport to win at the Olympics and 7 million yen for each silver and bronze medal. JOC forecasters see three gold medals for judo along with six silver and bronze medals in Athens. Women's wrestling is expected to win two gold medals for Japan and two silver or bronze medals in the event's Olympic debut.

  The women's wrestling event at the 2004 Games in Athens will be held in four weight categories -- 48, 55, 63 and 72 kg. Japanese wrestlers won in three of the four weight categories at the 2002 world championships. Meanwhile, the Japan Physical Education and School Health Center has decided to provide Japan's female wrestlers with 31.77 million yen in support. The center gave 80 million yen to judo and 35.06 million yen to speed skating.


   TOKYO (July 23) - The Japan Wrestling Federation (JWF) announced it will host the 2004 Asian Women痴 Wrestling Championships in Tokyo on May 22-23. The meet will be held at the Olympic Memorial Youth Center next to Tokyo痴 Yoyogi Park. The JWF board of directors has also approved plans for the World Cup of Women痴 Wrestling, scheduled for Tokyo痴 Yoyogi National Gymnasium on October 11-12.

   Seven of the world's top female teams will compete in a round-robin format. The top competitors from the World Cup meet will also take part in a weeklong training camp at the national training center in Tokyo from October 13.

   Meanwhile, Makiko Sakamoto, Seiko Yamamoto and Masatoshi Toyoda were added to the list of elite athletes to receive support from the Japanese Olympic Committee. The JWF will shoulder all of the expenses for sending the three athletes to competitions overseas.

   World champions Kyoko Hamaguchi, Saori Yoshida, Kaori Icho and world runner-up Chiharu Icho are members of the JOC's elite A group for support while Asian Games champion Shingo Matsumoto and bronze medalist Makoto Sasamoto are listed in category B.


   TOKYO (July 30) - The Japan Wrestling Federation will send the greco-roman national team to Poland for two weeks of training and then to compete in the Pytlasinski international tourney in Walbrzych. The Japanese squad will leave Japan on August 11 for Poland and will train with some local teams before competing in the August 23-24 Pytlasinski meet.

  The delegation is comprised of:

Team manager - Atsushi Miyahara
Coach - Hiromichi Ito
Trainer - Yasuyuki Sasaki
Referee - Shigeru Yamamoto
55 kg - Masatoshi Toyoda
60 kg - Makoto Sasamoto
66 kg - Masaki Imuro
74 kg - Katsuhiko Nagata
84 kg - Shingo Matsumoto
96 kg - Kenzo Kato


   TOKYO (July 22) - Asian Games champion Shingo Matsumoto capped a two-month training and study tour of Europe with a sixth-place finish at the German Greco-roman Grand Prix competition July 19-20. Matsumoto, wrestling at 84 kg, breezed through his preliminary group at the meet being held in Dortmund, but then fell to former world bronze medalist Alexander Daragan of Ukraine in the quarterfinals.

  The scored with a reverse waistlock throw in both of my preliminary group wins and I was surprised that some of the older wrestling fans from that area asked for my autograph,・Matsumoto said after his return to Japan. Then the quarterfinals, I was looking to score with a lift in the first period, but I didnn't get it,・the powerfully built 25-year-old from Ehime said. Then the clinch to start the second period, I pushed my opponent out of the ring first, but they gave him the point because I broke my grip first, Matsumoto said.

  But the latest FILA rules say that even though I released my grip, I should have received the point because I continued with the attack,・he explained, adding that the chairman of the officiating crew later told him that they had made a mistake. Despite the lost point and the loss, Matsumoto remained positive about his tour of Europe, which included training camps in Ukraine and Germany. The learned so much during these last two months in Europe.

  In practice, wrestled against people who could lift me out of the par terre position and I learned a lot from that. It was two months in which I was able to realize the kind of practice that I could never have had in Japan,・said Matsumoto, one of Japan's top hopes to secure a berth for next year's Olympics at the world championships this fall.

  Returning to Japan along with Matsumoto was Hiroshi Kado, who ended a year of study and research in Ukraine as part of the Japanese Olympic Committee痴 coach development program. Kado, who was a silver medal winner at the 1995 greco-roman world championships at 48 kg, spent the year studying coaching methodology in Ukraine.

Matsumoto's results at the German Grand Prix:
1R - bye
2R - df. Mohammed Babulfath, Sweden 4-0
3R - df. Kosta Kostanjevic, Croatia 5-0
QF - lost to Alexander Daragan, Ukraine 0-5


  Saitama Prefecture (July 12-13) - Sydney Olympic silver medalist Katsuhiko Nagata posted four convincing wins at 84 kg and rolled to an easy title at the shakaijin national championships. Nagata, who will represent Japan at 74 kg in October's greco-roman world championships, was also named the outstanding wrestler of the meet for non-student senior wrestlers.

  Sogo Seibi, a security company, won the company division team championship while the Self-Defense Forces B team edged the SDF A squad for the club division title. The women's team title went to Japan Beverage. Individual greco-roman champions

55 kg - Seiji Yoshida, Kanagawa Club
60 kg - Shingo Hirai, Sogo Seibi
66 kg - Mitsuo Tomiya, Japan Self-Defense Forces
74 kg - Taichi Suga, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Dept.
84 kg - Katsuhiko Nagata, New Japan Pro Wrestling
96 kg - Shuhei Taniguchi, Japan SDF
120 kg - Masanori Murotani, Wakayama Club

Individual freestyle champions:
55 kg - Masanori Toita, Dappe Club
60 kg - Shin段chi Inoue, Tokyo MPD
66 kg - Takayuki Ikeda, Yamagata Club
74 kg - Yukihiro Toida, Kokushikan Club
84 kg - Yutaka Suzuki, Japan SDF
96 kg - Takenori Yokoyama, Kurashiki Club
120 kg - Taiki Fukuda, Sogo Seibi

Individual women痴 champions:
48 kg - Misato Shimizu, Japan Beverage
51 kg - Chieko Toriumi, Yoyogi Club
55 kg - Kazumi Sugawara, Shieikan
59 kg - Mio Kaihara, Yoyogi Club
72 kg - Kyoko Hamaguchi, Japan Beverage
(No entries at 63 and 67 kg)