To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


  YOKOHAMA (April 26) - A new star in Japanese women's wrestling is born. Mio Nishimaki, who at the tender age of 16 has been literally unbeatable for 10 years, stormed through the cadet division at the Japan Queens Cup on April 6 winning all of her matches by fall. Nishimaki also pinned all of her opponents at 56 kg at the JOC Cup Junior Olympic meet on April 26 for an auspicious start to her high school wrestling career.

  And the graduate pf Kansai University's First Junior High School is only expected to get better. Nishimaki entered the high school affiliated with wrestling powerhouse Chukyo Women's University in April and has been practicing with 55-kg world champion Saori Yoshida.

  Yoshida, of course, is one of Japan's leading hopes to bring home a gold medal when women's wrestling makes its Olympic debut at the Athens Games next year. Nishimaki began wrestling at the Suita municipal wrestling club in Osaka Prefecture and promptly showed a talent for the sport.

  In 1993, she won the children's division at the national championships for schoolboys and schoolgirls and ruled over the competition there for seven years. Then from 2000, Nishimaki was champion for three straight years in both the national junior high school championships and the national junior high school girls championships. From her first triumph in the kids division of the Japan Queens Cup, Nishimaki has won JQC titles 11 years in a row.

  She further kicked off her international career this January by winning at the Schaub Women's International in Tourcoing, France. Speaking of losses, Nishimaki admits "I lost once to a boy in the western Japan championships." But beyond that, her only loss was in the 2000 senior national championships where as a 13-year-old junior high school student she lost in overtime 3-2 to college-aged wrestler. Since the rules then allowed junior high school students to compete in the All-Japan meet, it is considered in the strictest of terms to be an official loss.

  But there is little objection in general to saying that in reality Nishimaki has been 砥ndefeated・for a decade. When asked about the secret to her success, the teenager replies bashfully "I think it's because I practice everyday and never take a day off." But when the Olympics and a gold medal are mentioned, Nishimaki replies without hesitation "I think Athens might not be possible, but I will set my sights for the Beijing Olympics."

  At Chukyo, Nishimaki will be training with a number of the world's top-ranked wrestlers, including Yoshida, Rena Iwama (World Cup champion at 59 kg) and 63-kg world champion Kaori Icho. With such a stable of teammates, Nishimaki is certain to be tossed about in practice and taste the tears of frustration everyday. But expectations are also high that it will give her wrestling flight.

  Wrestling with the veterans will also stimulate her wrestling and this synergistic effect will become the basis for the future of Japanese success at the middle weights. And while there are people who are saying that the other countries are getting stronger and that Japan will be overtaken as No. 1 in the world by the Beijing Olympics in 2008, when one sees the ability of Nishimaki, one can probably say that there is a strong possibility that these are all just
imaginary fears.


  TOKYO - China's participation in the World Cup of women's wrestling in October, bringing to seven the number of nations set to compete in the competition.

  The World Cup will be held October 11-12 at Yoyogi National Gymnasium and will feature defending champion Japan, Sweden, Russia, Germany, Greece and Canada as well as China. China, which won the team title at the world championships two years ago, sent its best wrestlers to the Asian Games last fall and a host of younger wrestlers to the world championships in Greece to finish in sixth place.

  China, which won two of the four gold medals at the Asian Games along with Japan, has had 15 wrestlers win titles in the world championships and has been working hard to further improve its wrestling team in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.


  TOKYO (April 3) - The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) on April 3 named Japan Wrestling Federation president Tomiaki Fukuda the head of its athletic performance committee.

  Fukuda had been the vice chairman of the committee the previous two years and elevated to chairman with expectations that Japan's female wrestlers will bring home the gold. Meanwhile, Kiyoko Ono, president of the Japan Female Wrestling Federation, was elected vice chairman of the athletic performance committee and also selected the chairwoman of the newly created Committee on Women's Sports.