To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


By William May
(Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee

October wrestling news


  NIIZA, Saitama Pref. (October 27) - Olympic veterans Makoto Sasamoto and Katsuhiko Nagata had to settle for silver medals on the final day of wrestling competition at the National Sports Festival hosted by Saitama Prefecture. Sasamoto, who finished fifth in Athens at 60 kg, fell to reigning national champion Masaki Imuro in overtime in the 66-kg greco-roman final at Niiza Municipal Gymnasium.

  Nagata, meanwhile, a silver medalist at 69 kg four years ago in Sydney and Japan's representative at 74 kg in Athens, lost 3-0 to Shuhei Taniguchi in the 84-kg title match. In the schoolboy finals at Shiki Municipal Gymnasium, Isshin Kuramoto of Shiga Prefecture added the sports festival crown to his national invitational, junior national and high school greco-roman national titles.

Senior greco-roman finals:
55 kg
Tomoya Murata (Shiga) df. Kohei Hasegawa (Shizuoka), 4-0
60 kg
Ikuhiro Yanagawa (Gunma) df. Shingo Hirai (Tokyo), 3-0
66 kg
Masaki Imuro (Saitama) df. Makoto Sasamoto (Kanagawa), 3-1, OT 6:13
74 kg
Taichi Suga (Tokyo) df. Atsushi Kano (Gifu), 8-1
84 kg
Shuhei Taniguchi (Saitama) df. Katsuhiko Nagata (Chiba), 3-0
96 kg
Noriaki Ota (Saitama) df. Yusuke Morikaku (Nagano), 2-0, 9:00
120 kg
Kenzo Kato (Saitama) df. Naoki Sawada (Yamaguchi), 3-2
Schoolboy division winners
50 kg - Toshio Taguchi (Osaka)
55 kg - Kazuma Kuramoto (Shiga)
60 kg - Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu (Yamanashi)
66 kg - Shuhei Kuraya (Yamanashi)
74 kg - Naoki Kadoma (Akita)
84 kg - Masaaki Yano (Nara)
96 kg - Masaki Kudo (Akita)
120 kg - Minoru Shigemura (Kumamoto)


  NIIZA, Saitama Pref. (October 25) - Seasoned veteran Hidekazu Yokoyama won in a battle of Olympic team members to claim the 84-kg freestyle title at the National Sports Festival in Saitama Prefecture.
Yokoyama, representing Akita Prefecture, needed overtime to edge Yamanashi's Kunihiko Obata 3-0 in the freestyle finals at Niiza Municipal Gymnasium.

  Obata, who finished 13th at 74 kg in this year's Athens Olympics, lost to Yokoyama in the NSF final for a second straight year. Meanwhile, in the schoolboy division, Shigeki Osawa (Ibaraki, 60 kg); Shu Miyahara (Akita, 66 kg); Aoi Otsuki (Oita, 74 kg), Ryota Kigura (Ibaraki, 96 kg) and Shinken Arakida (Aomori, 120 kg) each added the NSF title to national invitational and national championship crowns won earlier this year. Otsuki also won the JOC Cup cadet national championship last spring.

Senior freestyle finals:
55 kg
Takeshi Sugitani (Saitama) df. Seshito Shimizu (Fukushima), 3-0
60 kg
Hidenori Yamamoto (Saitama) df. Masaki Wakayama (Gifu), 6-0)
66 kg
Takayuki Suzuki (Kyoto) df. Yukihiro Toida (Shimane), 5-1
74 kg
Yutaka Suzuki (Saitama) df. Kazuyuki Nagashima (Fukushima), 4-0)
84 kg
Hidekazu Yokoyama (Akita) df. Kunihiko Obata (Yamanashi), 3-0, OT 6:42
96 kg
Kiyotaka Kodaira (Tokyo) df. Yoshitsugu Yoneyama (Gunma) by TF, 4:20
120 kg
Akihito Tanaka (Fukuoka) df. Seitaro Yoshida (Akita), 5-0
Schoolboy division winners:
50 kg - Atsushi Irie (Tochigi)
55 kg - Teppei Ayatani (Ibaraki)
60 kg - Shigeki Osawa (Ibaraki)
66 kg - Takashi Miyahara (Akita)
74 kg - Aoi Otsuki (Oita)
84 kg - Tetsuro Asami (Saitama)
96 kg - Ryota Kogure (Ibaraki)
120 kg - Nobuyoshi Arakida (Aomori)


   TOKYO (October 25) - Two-time Olympic greco-roman wrestling champion Armen Nazarian of Bulgaria is scheduled to compete at the ZST-GP2 mixed martial arts meet in Tokyo on November 3. Nazarian won Olympic gold medals at 52 kg in Atlanta in 1996 and at 58 kg in Sydney four years ago. Nazarian, who won world titles in 2002 and 2003, however, had to settle for the bronze medal in Athens.

   Nazarian is well-known in Japan after defeating Makoto Sasamoto in a quarterfinal bout in Athens after an apparent leg penalty was overlooked by the officials. Nazarian has indicated that will continue wrestling until the 2008 Olympics in Beijing while also competing in mixed martial arts competitions.


   TOKYO (October 12) - The World Cup of women's wrestling, hosted in Japan on October 8-9, scored an average viewership rating of 8.8 percent in prime time with a peak rating of 14.6 percent on October 9. The finals of the World Cup were aired on Nihon Television (NTV) from 7 p.m. to 8:54 p.m., Japan's so-called 敵olden Hour,・on October 9. The viewership ratings measured the number of households watching television during that time in the Kanto area around the Tokyo metropolitan region.

   Fuji Television ran away with the ratings with a 33.2 percent for a special variety program, while the semi-official Japan Broadcasting Company (NHK) was second with 23.3 percent and 16.5 percent for its weather programs following a powerful typhoon that swept over the area. The Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) scored a 10.9 percent with a quiz program while TV Asahi registered an 8.8 percent with its airing of a Pacific League baseball playoff game.

   The ratings between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., however, saw the World Cup broadcast improve to 10.7 percent ahead of the baseball playoffs (10.1 percent) and the TBS quiz program (10.0 percent) -- giving NTV the No. 2 ranking for private broadcasters during that time. A spot check at 8:49, when the World Cup ratings hit 14.6 percent, moved NTV into second place overall among all broadcasters.


   TOKYO (October 9) - The head coach of the defending champion U.S. squad cited a lack of discipline and courage in his team's fall to fifth place at the World Cup of women's wrestling. Terry Steiner noted that when 72-kg entry Toccara Montgomery did not make weight for the event, the team became discouraged and failed to rise to the challenge. With Montgomery out of the line-up, the U.S. squad managed only one win against four losses. In the losses to China and Russia, a victory by Montgomery could have reversed the outcome and given the U.S. third place. "Off the mat, we lacked discipline. And, on the mat, we lacked courage," a dejected Steiner said after the competition, adding that the team needed to look at ways to correct the problem.

   On support from USA Wrestling, Steiner indicated that things were much better financially since women's wrestling has become an official Olympic event. However, he called for a better system to bring up young wrestlers.


   TOKYO (October 9) - Two members of the U.S. team at the World Cup of women's wrestling enjoyed the feeling of wrestling before a "hometown" crowd -- even though it was their first time competing in Japan. Veteran Stephanie Murata and national team rookie Tela O'donnell both have connections to Japan and were excited to be wrestling in Tokyo. O'donnell, 22, whose grandfather and grandmother on her father's side hail from Japan, added "I really want to learn more about Japanese culture since I have Japanese blood in me. The Japanese people are so kind."

   O'donnell qualified for the U.S. Olympic team by defeating two-time world silver medalist Tina George, but was unable to advance out of her pool in Athens. After meeting Japan's 55-kg ace Saori Yoshida on the mat for the first time in Tokyo, O'donnell conceded that there was a huge gap between her and the Olympic gold medalist. O'donnell, who finished second in the individual World Cup rankings at her weight, said she hoped to close the gap with Yoshida as she improved on the different aspects of her wrestling.

   Murata, 33, meanwhile, missed a chance to wrestle in the 2003 World Cup meet in Tokyo, where the United States upended Japan for the title. Murata was runner-up at 51 kg in the world championships in 2001, but had to move up to 55 kg for a chance to make the Olympic team. But, like two-time world champion Hitomi Sakamoto in Japan, Murata came up short. In the World Cup, however, Murata looked strong and sharp, losing only to Sakamoto while claiming second at 51 kg. As for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Murata said "I don't know yet what the weights will be for Beijing, but as much as possible I hope to continue wrestling."

O'dnell Murata Murata and her
father (1999)


   TOKYO (October 9) - Six-time world champion Christine Nordhagen was not her usual dominating self at the World Cup in Japan, but she is still hoping that she will have another chance at the Olympics in 2008 in Beijing. Nordhagen trailed Japan's unheralded Eri Sakamoto 3-1 in Canada's opening dual against Japan before rallying for three points in the final 20 seconds. She also dropped a 3-1 decision to Russia's Elena Perepelkina.

   Nordhagen explained that another wrestler was scheduled to compete in the World Cup at 67 kg, but she was asked to go to Japan for the competition at the last moment. Nordhagen said she had thought about retiring from wrestling after Athens, but added she would continue for the time being.

   Before the start of the World Cup, Nordhagen said in a separate interview that "There is no age limit in the Olympics! I don't know if I'll continue wrestling until Beijing, but I would like to wrestle as long as I can." "I am really hoping that all seven weight categories (for women) will be contested in Beijing," said Nordhagen, adding that she would like to compete at 67 kg rather than giving up weight to the women at 72 kg.


   TOKYO (October 10) - Athens Olympic bronze medalist Kyoko Hamaguchi kicked off a torch relay at National Stadium to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the opening of the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. 的 was so happy to selected as the first runner to hold this commemorative flame,"Hamaguchi said. "I was really moved when I saw the cauldron at National Stadium lit." Osamu Watanabe, freestyle gold medalist at 63 kg in the Tokyo Games, was one of the Olympic medalists to march into the stadium with the Olympic Flag.

   Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho, gold medalists at the Olympic debut of women's wrestling in Athens this past summer, were among the Olympic medalists who paraded into the stadium as part of the ceremony.


   TOKYO (October 10) - The All-Japan Student Wrestling Federation announced its training schedule for members of its teams scheduled to compete in the World University Games in Turkey next August.
Trials for the Universiade team will be held at the national training center in Tokyo on March 26.

   The student federation decided to begin its preparations for the university games with weekend training camps this fall. Selected student team members will train with the senior national teams as well. The federation also plans to send some of its representatives to the Dave Schultz Memorial in the United States in early February. Schedule of weekend training camps (freestyle at Senshu University,
greco-roman at the national training center): October 16-17; November 6-7; January 22-23 and February 19-20.


   TOKYO (October 7) - Defending champion Nihon University posted a decisive 5-2 win over Nippon Sports Science University to claim its 10th title overfall at the Japanese Collegiate Dual Meet Championship. Waseda University, one of Japan's elite academic institutions, also scored a 5-2 win over Kokushikan University for third place at Komazawa Gymnasium.

   West Japan's lone entry in the one-day meet Ritsumeikan University of Kyoto upset last year's runner-up Senshu University in the first round.Nihon University's Masashi Saito was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler, while Yoshitsugu Yoneyama of NSSU was given the Fighting Spirit Award.


   TOKYO (September 30) - Some 800 guests and officials, including members of the Japanese government and ministries, celebrated the six medals Japan won in wrestling at the Olympic Games in Athens this summer. Gold medalists Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho each received gifts from three sponsor companies totaling 3 million yen each and 5000 dollars from another company.

   They also received a commemorative medal made of pure gold worth 1 million yen while their families received travel coupons for 700,000 yen in the gala affair at Meiji Memorial Hall in central Tokyo.The Japan Wrestling Federation, meanwhile, presented sponsors companies and organizations with formal letters of appreciation as Japan.