To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


   TOKYO (October 9) - A Japanese "Dream Team" composed of six former and reigning world champions rolled to a 23-4 victory over China to win the World Cup of women's wrestling.
Japan regained the World Cup crown it lost to the United States one year ago while Canada, which lost to Japan in the opening round, claimed second place.

  A promising young Chinese squad finished with a 3-2 record and third place. Five-time world champion Kyoko Hamaguchi forged a 3-0 victory over 2001 world silver medalist Ma Bailing at 72 kg and was named the outstanding wrestler of the competition.

  Olympic gold medalist Saori Yoshida, meanwhile, won by fall over Sun Dongmei at 55 kg to run her winning streak over non-Japanese opponents to 79.
Overall, the Japanese team posted a 30-5 record in five duals with 17 wins by fall or default and eight wins by technical superiority.

  In the tournament finale, Olympic silver medalist Chiharu Icho hit a double-leg takedown in overtime to claim a 3-2 win over Asia No. 3 Deng Weichan at 48 kg. Hitomi Sakamoto, a two-time world champion and FILA's female wrestler of the year in 2001, struck quickly at 51 kg with a double-leg takedown and moved quickly to secure the fall against Tan Dongmei.

  Seiko Yamamoto was struggling against Su Lihui at 59 kg until Su tried to go behind too quickly on a double-leg attempt and four-time world champ Yamamoto twisted the Asia champion to her back for the fall.
Olympic gold medalist Kaori Icho flipped Jia Yafeng to her back on a failed takedown attempt and squeezed for the easy fall at 63 kg. Sixteen-year-old Jing Ruixue picked up China's lone win of the dual against Eri Sakamoto at 67 kg -- where Japan went 1-4 during the World Cup.
Japan 25, Russia 4
The Sakamoto sisters, Makiko and Hitomi, led off with a pair of falls, but cousin Eri Sakamoto was saddled with Japan's only loss of the dual meet.
Makiko and Hitomi used nearly identical arm bars to drive their opponents to their backs at 48 kg and 51 kg.
Eri, however, could not manage a takedown against former European junior champion Elena Perepelkina and was turned over twice in par terre at 67 kg.
Perepelkina's older sister, Evgenia, missed a chance to add another win for Russia. Evgenia was leading 1-0 against Rena Iwama in the second period at 59 kg when the Japanese veteran got in for a double-leg takedown leading to a fall.
Russia 14, United States 12
Evgenia Perepelkina came out on top of Sally Robert's headlock attempt in overtime at 59 kg for a 3-0 victory to spark Russia to a come-from-behind victory.
Evgenia's younger sister, Elena capped the comeback with a hiplock out of the second period clinch for a 4-1 over at 67 kg.
Canada 25, India 2
Helen Hennick spun around a takedown attempt by Geetika Jakhar in overtime for a 7-6 win at 63 kg and Canada won all seven bouts against India.
Jakhar, who hit a three-point takedown late to knot the score at 6-6, was trying for India's first mat victory of the tournament.
Sonika Kaliraman notched India's only win of the competition with a win by default at 72 kg against the United States on Friday.
China 26, India 2
China racked up four falls and a technical fall, but Asia champion Su Lihui was held to a points decision by Asia No. 3 Alka Tomar at 59 kg.
Canada 19, United States 9
With the dual deadlocked at 8-8, Emily Richardson hit a single-leg in overtime and dropped Sally Roberts to her back for a 4-1 win at 59 kg.
Helen Hennick and Christine Nordhagen sealed the victory with pins as Canada won its fourth straight for second place overall.