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 5) - Unheralded Sayuri Tatemoto, who learned she was going to the Asian Wrestling Championships only days go, booked her place in the finals of the women's 55-kg category with two convincing wins on the first day of the championships.

  Tatemoto, a little-known grappler from the star-studded Chukyo Women's University wrestling club, used a nifty foot sweep to grab the early lead against Korea's Lee Na-Lae on her way to a 4-0 triumph over the Asian Games silver medalist. Tatemoto came back in the evening session with a hard-fought 5-0 win over Manju Shekhavat of India, wearing down the tricky hometown favorite with a number of takedown feints and plenty of movement.

  Also in the women's competition, Mika Noguchi and Ayako Shoda rolled to easy wins at 48 kg and 63 kg respectively. Noguchi, in a slump recently after being a member of Japan's world team last November, used a headlock and a variety of tilts to score a technical fall win over Kazakhstan's Saniya Rakhimova. Noguchi, however, twisted her knee in an early scramble with Rakhimova and used her bye in the evening session to rest her shaky limb.

  Two-time Asia champion Shoda, meanwhile, tipped Taiwan's Chuang Shu-fang up with three different gut wrenches before nailing down the win by fall at 2:55.
The young Japanese men's squad put up a good fight on the first day, but were often left holding the short end of the stick.

  World university champion Tomohiro Matsunaga dropped a pair of one-point decisions in overtime when he could not stop the high-crotch single-leg takedown. Matsunaga gave up the lead twice on a pair of high-crotch takedowns to Kazakhstan's Bauyezhan Orazhalyev in a first-round match at 55 kg, but equalized each time with a double-leg takedown.

  After the second double-leg, Matsunaga appeared to score with a trap-arm gut wrench for what would have been a 4-2 lead, but the judge and chairman rejected the referee's call to send the bout into overtime. In the clinch, Matsunaga attempted to end the bout quickly with an inside trip, but Orazhalyev stepped out and spun around behind for the win.

  Again, in the evening session, Matsunaga could not stop the high-crotch and fell to Iran's Mohammad Aslani 5-4 in overtime.

  World team member Kazuhiko Ikematsu also got into trouble with the clinch at 66 kg, when he attempted to hook and throw Kim Sung Sil of Korea and got thrown to his back. A quick gut wrench by Kim put Ikematsu into a 4-0 hole. The Nippon Sports Science University coach, however, battled back to narrow the gap to 4-3, but could not get any closer.

  Meanwhile, Takushoku University freshman Takao Isokawa received a rude welcome to Asian wrestling when he has manhandled in a 10-0 loss to Uzbekistan's Magomad Kuzugiyev at 84 kg.

  In greco-roman, Yasuto Fujita could not stop Iran's Hamid Bavafa at 55 kg as last year's junior Asian champ cruised to a 10-0 win by technical superiority.
In the evening session, however, Fujita made life difficult for Kyrgyzstan's Uran Kalilov, holding the Asian Games bronze medalist to three hard-earned points before a lift and hip toss in the final minute of an 8-1 loss.

  At 66 kg, Masaaki Izena gave up a lift and back-arching throw to India's Gurbinder Singh midway through their first-round match and lost 6-0.
At 84 kg, little-known Mitsuhiro Ota posted the only win of the morning session for the Japanese men with a lift, roll and lift again combination for a 10-0 technical win over Vietnam's Can Van Thuc.

  The Nihon Bunri University employee, however, was brought down to earth in the evening session by Evgeny Erofailov of Uzbekistan as the former Asia No. 3 shoved Ota around the mat for a one-sided 3-0 win.