To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


TOKYO (March 18) - A five-member squad of Japanese women won seven titles in two European meets in early March, but the men’s freestyle and greco-roman teams had their own spring tours cancelled because of the impending war in the Middle East.

  The decision to cancel the tours was made by the Crisis Management Project of the Japan Wrestling Federation as the war between a U.S.-led coalition of forces and Iraq appeared imminent. It was the first time since the Persian Gulf War of 1991 that the Japanese wrestling federation cancelled the tours of its squads.

  The men’s greco-roman team had been scheduled to travel to Greece on March 18 for a training camp with a local team and for the Acropolis tourney on March 28-30. The men’s freestyle team was set to travel to Belarus on March 25 for the Medved tournament in Minsk on March 29-30 and then move to Bulgaria for the April 5-6 Dan Kolov meet.

  Earlier in the month, the Japanese women won three championship titles at the Klippan Ladies Open in Sweden and four at the Poland Open in Lodz a week later. (Reports of the competitions were filed separately.) Reigning world champion Kyoko Hamaguchi turned away all challengers at 72 kg to win back-to-back titles on the tour. She was joined by world silver medalist Chiharu Icho (51 kg) and three-time former world champion Seiko Yamamoto.

  Kaori Icho, who won the world title last year at 63 kg, however, rebounded from a loss in the Klippan meet to snare the Poland Open crown.


  GUILIN, China (March 13-14) - Ayako Murashima rebounded from an early loss by pin to win the 72-kg title at the Guilin women’s international wrestling festival. The festival included clinics for coaches and referees as well as joint training and competition in the four women’s weight categories designated for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

  FILA president Raphy Martinetti and vice-president Tomiaki Fukuda attended the festival. Japanese veteran Shoko Yoshimura was injured during the training session and missed the competition at 48 kg.

48 kg - Shoko Yoshimura, TBC Tokyo club (injured)
 1. Yang Zuying, China; 2. Tang Liqiong, China; 3. Nguyen Thi Thu, Vietnam

55 kg - Chikako Matsukawa, Toyama Ichiko HS (7th, 13 entries)
 1R - pinned Dai Shiju, China
 2R - lost by tech. sup. to Lee Na-Lae, Korea
 3R - bye
 1. Chen Tainxian, China; 2. Xu Yanhui, China; 3. Zhang Qingqian, China

63 kg - No Japanese entry
 1. Qiong Ji, China; 2. Yun So-Young, Korea; 3. Nguyen Thi Lan Anh,Vietnam

72 kg - Ayako Murashima, Chukyo Women’s College (1st, four entries)
 1R - bye
 2R - lost by fall to Dou Li, China (open entry)
 3R - pinned Nguyen Thi Hong Hanh, Vietnam
 4R - def. Kim Kyung Mi, Korea 8-3
 5R - def. Bachtiguli, China 4-1
 1. Ayako Murashima, Japan; 2. Kim Kyung-Mi, Korea; 3. Nguyen Thi Hong
Hanh, Vietnam


TOKYO (March 15) - Shozo Sasahara formally announced his intention to
retire as president of the Japan Wrestling Federation at a meeting of the
JWF board of directors in Tokyo. Sasahara, who has served as JWF president since 1989, recommended FILA vice president Tomiaki Fukuda as his successor. The JWF board promptly adopted the recommendation.

  Fukuda, who has served as chairman of the JWF board of directors, took
over as president on April 1.


TOKYO (March 22) - Yuji Takada was elected chairman of the board of directors of the Japan Wrestling Federation at a meeting of the board along with the JWF national council. The directors and council met to discuss wrestling’s budget and operations for fiscal 2003 and the selection of a new slate of JWF directors.

  The meeting also formally approved the promotion of Tomiaki Fukuda from
chairman of the board to JWF president following the decision of the
directors a week earlier. Takada, a five-time world champion who won the gold medal at 52 kg in the freestyle competition at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, is currently the head coach at Yamanashi Gakuin University.

  Along with Takada, Yusaku Imaizumi and Mamoru Shimizu were elected as managing directors. With the success of the Japanese women last year, the Japanese Olympic Committee increased its support of the JWF, which along with other factors saw its budget increased by about 100 million yen to 380 million yen.

  The meeting also recognized the importance of this year’s schedule with an eye on winning gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Among the measures approved by the council and directors was the launch in April of an “Athens Olympics Performance Enhancement Headquarters.”


TOKYO (March 26) - The president of the Japan Women’s Wrestling Federation Kiyoko Ono was returned to the board of directors for Japanese
Olympic Committee. In the March 26 vote by the JOC council, JOC president Tsunekazu Takeda was reelected for another two-year term and incoming Japan Wrestling Federation president Tomiaki Fukuda won another term on the JOC board. Ono, who had been on the JOC board from 1999 to 2000, had served as a JOC supervisor the last two years.


NIIGATA, Japan (March 28) - Kasumigaura high school of Ibaraki Prefecture defeated Kanoya Chuo of Kagoshima 6-1 to win the national high school wrestling invitational tournament at Niigata Municipal Gymnasium. Kasumigaura won its 13th team title in the spring wrestling classic. The Ibaraki school, which last won in 2000, was eliminated in the third round in 2001 and lost in the quarterfinals last year.

  Third-place trophies went to Yamagata Shogyo and Kosei Gakuin of Aomori. Last year’s champion, Numazu Gakuen of Shizuoka, fell 5-2 in the third round to Kosei Gakuin.

  In the individual competition, Kasumigaura’s Noriyuki Takazuka, who won five national high school titles last year, kicked off the new wrestling year in Japan by winning the 63-kg crown by fall over Fumiya Itakura of Akita Keihodai high school. Takazuka’s teammate at Kasumigaura, Yasuhiro Inaba gave the team champions a second individual title at 58 kg.

Individual champions:
50 kg - Makoto Anbu, Tsuchiura Nichidai (Ibaraki)
54 kg - Ken Kikuchi, Akita Shogyo
58 kg - Yasuhiro Inaba, Kasumigaura (Ibaraki)
63 kg - Noriyuki Takazuka, Kasumigaura (Ibaraki)
69 kg - Koichiro Asa, Kanoya Chuo (Kagoshima)
76 kg - Go Kudo, Kosei Gakuin (Aomori)
85 kg - Yoichi Yamagata, Nichidai Fujisawa (Kanagawa)
120 kg - Takahiro Shimonaka, Ikeda (Tokushima)


  TOKYO (March 24) - Kyoko Hamaguchi led a host of wrestlers and wrestling coaches as recipients of sports achievement awards presented by the Japanese Ministry of Sport and Science.

  The recipients included Hamaguchi and fellow 2002 world champions Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho as well as 2001 world champions Hitomi Sakamoto and Seiko Yamamoto. Saburo Sugiyama, Hideaki Tomiyama, Akira Suzuki, Kazuhito Sakae and Heigo Hamaguchi were recognized for their coaching.

  For outstanding performances in international meets, Asian Games gold medalists Shingo Matsumoto, Saori Yoshida and Kyoko Hamaguchi were recognized along with Chiharu Icho, a silver medalist at last year’s world meet. Hideo Fujimoto, Akira Suzuki and Heigo Hamaguchi were also honored for their coaching in this category. Kyoko Hamaguchi delivered the address for all of the athletes present at the awards ceremony.