To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


  NEW DELHI (June 8) - The Japanese women scored a golden hat trick on the final day of the 16th Senior Asian Wrestling Championships to win the team title in the female competition with 65 points. Former world silver medalist Rena Iwama led the charge with a gold medal at 59 kg and Ninako Hattori (51 kg) and Norie Saito (67 kg) added to the golden haul in the final session of wrestling at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.

  Iwama, who cruised through her first three wins of the five-woman round-robin competition, was surprised with a single-arm throw by Myagmarsuren Tumen of Mongolia to open their match and found herself briefly looking at the lights. Iwama, however, scrambled off her back and came out on top, where she applied an arm-bar and cranked the upset-minded Mongolian over for the fall at 1:36 of the first period.

  In the evening session, Ninako Hattori, who won the Asian junior crown in New Delhi three years ago, flattened Mongolia's Enkhjargal Tsogtbazar in 1:56 for her third victory by fall in the four-woman 51-kg competition. Norie Saito, meanwhile, who had to wait through four days and eight sessions of wrestling to finally get her chance on the mat, made short work of hometown favorite Sihag Kiran with a technical fall at 67 kg.

  Saito, who was seventh in last year's world championships, opened up midway through the first period with a lateral drop for four points and then showed her judo background with an uchimata inner-thigh reap for a 11-0 triumph at 2:49. Saito's win in the category with only two weights gave Japan its fifth title out of the seven categories contested and the team title. India, with silver or bronze medalists in five categories, took second place while Mongolia was third.

  Meanwhile, the Japanese men completed their four days on the mats in New Delhi on a down note as Yusuke Morikaku was unable to convert his par terre chances into points and lost 4-0 to Margulan Assembekov of Kazakhstan in the greco-roman match for third place at 96 kg.

  Iran won six of the seven freestyle weights for the team title while Alireza Heydari won the continental crown for the fifth time overall with a 6-0 victory of Magomed Ibragimov of Uzbekistan at 96 kg. In greco-roman, Kazakhstan had three champions, but Iran placed wrestlers in the top three in six of the weight categories, including a gold for Parviz Zeidvand at 66 kg, for the team championship.