To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


   TOKYO (May 24) - Japan’s three national wrestling teams -- freestyle, greco-roman and female -- gathered at the Japan Institute of Sports Science (JISS) in Tokyo for the first ever joint training camp for men and women. About 100 wrestlers from Japan’s teams slated to compete in the world and Asian championships along with alternates and training partners assembled for the historic camp in the three-mat training hall.

   Yuji Takada, executive director for the Japan Wrestling Federation, opened the training camp with some words of encouragement before national freestyle team coach Takahiro Wada took the teams through their paces for the afternoon session.

  While most of the women had experience training against male wrestlers, it was the first time that many of them had a chance to go against their peers from the men’s national teams. “I consider myself on the quick side among female wrestlers, but I was stunned today,” world champion Saori Yoshida said after wrestling with freestyle team member Chikara Tanabe.

  “There are differences in techniques and speed, but in terms of physical strength there is absolutely no comparison. “I plan to keep wrestling against the men as much as possible and hope I can score at least one point on Tanabe before the end of camp.” Later, Takada explained to the press “The female wrestlers can experience the difference in strength with the me. This is not to bring down the style and methods of women’s wrestling. We hope that it will help them learn new techniques and ways of thinking.”

  “On the other hand, the women have a better ranking in the world than the men, so it would be great if this sets a stick of dynamite under the men and gets them thinking about what they’re doing.” “We (the JWF) want to strengthen the men and women together and plan to increase these kinds of chances along with frequent exchanges between the coaches,” Takada added.


  TOKYO (May 21) - Asian Games gold medalist Shingo Matsumoto embarked on a three-month tour of Europe as he set his sights on a medal at the greco-roman world championships in October and next year’s Athens Olympics. Matsumoto, who easily won the national team trials on May 1-2, planned to take in the European greco-roman championships in Belgrade, May 23-25, and then travel to Ukraine, Germany and Hungary for some practice against his European rivals.

  “As much as possible, I hope to spar against some of the stronger European wrestlers,” Matsumoto said at Narita airport before his departure. “In Japan, there is no one who can lift me (from the par terre position), but there are so many in Europe. So, improving my par terre defense is one of my goals,” Matsumoto said.


  TOKYO (May 2) - Shingo Matsumoto, winner of the Emperor’s Cup last December as the most outstanding wrestler in the national championships, rolled to his fourth straight national invitational title and took home the Meiji Nyugyo Cup, again as the MOW. Chikara Tanabe (freestyle, 55 kg) and Makoto Sasamoto (greco-roman, 60 kg) were also named outstanding wrestlers for the meet that served as the national team trials for this year’s Asian and world championships.

  In freestyle, the invitational winners at 60, 66 and 120 kg were different from the national championships last December, so wrestle-off bouts were held to determine this year’s national team members. Results of championship finals and wrestle-off bouts:

55 kg - Chikara Tanae def. Tomohiro Matsunaga, 3-1
60 kg - Hironori Sekikawa def. Kenji Inoue, 3-0
w.o. - Ryosuke Ota def. Hironori Sekikawa, 3-1, 8:23
66 kg - Kazuhiko Ikematsu def. Kazuyuki Miyata, 5-1
w.o. - Kazuhiko Ikematsu def. Kazuyuki Miyata, 4-0
74 kg - Kunihiko Obata def. Kazuyuki Nagashima, 5-4, 8:52
84 kg - Hidekazu Yokoyama def. Takao Isokawa, 3-0
96 kg - Yoshihiro Nakao def. Kiyotaka Kodaira, 3-2, 6:01
120 kg - Kohei Suwama def. Akihito Tanaka, 3-2, 6:03
w.o. - Kohei Suwama def. Akihito Tanaka, 7-5
55 kg - Masatoshi Toyoda def. Takashi Yasuhara, 4-0, 6:05
60 kg - Makoto Sasamoto def. Hikaru Ito by fall, 1:00 (9-0)
66 kg - Masaki Imuro def. Masanori Oi, 3-1, 8:43
74 kg - Katsuhiko Nagata def. Taichi Suga, 4-0
84 kg - Shingo Matsumoto def. Hideki Kinoshita by technical superiority
11-0, 1:26
96 kg - Kenzo Kato def. Yusuke Morikaku by fall, 1:45 (3-0)
120 kg - Katsuaki Suzuki def. Hirotoshi Segawa by criteria, 1-1, 9:00


 TOKYO (May 16) - Nihon University overcame a loss to Takushoku University in pool competition to win the East Japan Collegiate Wrestling Championships with a 6-1 win over Nippon Sports Science University. The triumph was the first for NU, or Nichidai, in six years and its sixth league championship overall.

  Defending champion Takushoku was third with a 5-2 win over Yamanashi Gakuin University. Nichidai’s Kenta Fujimoto was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler and NU head coach Hideaki Tomiyama was named the outstanding coach.

  Keio University won the second division title 4-3 over Rikkyo University, but neither school was able to advance to the first division after 7-0 losses to Hosei University and Tokyo University of Agriculture.


  OSAKA (MAY 25) - Kyoto’s Ritsumeikan University edged Tokuyama University 4-3 in the championship final to win its fourth straight title in the West Japan Collegiate Wrestling League. Two league tourneys are held each year in western Japan, one in the spring and one in the fall. On the final day of competition in the spring meeting at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, Ritsumeikan rolled over Kyoto rival Doshisha 6-1 while Tokuyama scratched out a 4-3 win over Fukuoka University to win their respective pools.

  Nihon Bunri University won its first league title in the second division with a 5-2 win over Chukyo Gakuin University.


  TOKYO - Katsuhiko Nagata, a silver medalist at the Sydney Olympics, opted out of the upcoming Asian Championships in New Delhi. The one-time Tokyo police officer said he wanted to focus on his preparations for the world championships in October and a concern over the respiratory disease SARS.

  Nagata will be replaced in the June 5-8 event by Kokushikan University freshman Tsukasa Tsurumaki, who finished third in the Meiji Nyugyo Cup national invitational tournament.