To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


  TOKYO (April 13) - World champion Chiharu Icho nailed down a berth on the Japanese Olympic team with a 3-0 victory over college teammate and rival Makiko Sakamoto in a special wrestle-off for the spot at 48 kg. Icho, who won the world title at 51 kg last fall in New York, threw Sakamoto to her back out of a second-period clinch at Komazawa Gymnasium in Tokyo to secure the win.

  Icho is in her fourth year at Chukyo Women痴 University near Nagoya, while Sakamoto, fifth at last year痴 world meet, is a CWU freshman. Icho won the national championship crown at 48 kg last December with a victory over Sakamoto, but Sakamoto forced a wrestle-off for the Olympic team berth with a win over Icho in the Japan Queens Cup final in February. Icho joins younger sister and 63-kg world champion Kaori Icho on the Olympic team along with fellow world champs Saori Yoshida (55) and Kyoko Hamaguchi (72).

  TOKYO (April 13) - Sydney Olympians Katsuhiko Nagata and Makoto Sasamoto earned a return to the Olympics when they won titles at the Meiji Nyugyo Cup national invitational tournament. Nagata, a greco-roman silver medalist at 69 kg in Sydney, avenged a loss to Taichi Suga at the national championships in December with a 3-1 overtime victory in the final at 74 kg. Sasamoto, meanwhile, who finished eighth in Sydney, needed only 97 seconds to secure a win by technical fall over Hikaru Ito at 60 kg in greco-roman.

  Atlanta Olympian Hidekazu Yokoyama also won a second trip to the Olympics with a 6-0 win over Takushoku University sophomore Takao Isokawa in the 84-kg final in freestyle. Earning their first trips to the Olympic Games were Masatoshi Toyota (GR 55), Shingo Matsumoto (GR 84) and Kenji Inoue (FS 60). Toyota, who won his weight at the second Olympic qualifier in Tashkentin March, however, needed a victory over Takashi Yasuhara in a special wrestle-off after falling to Yasuhara 3-1 in the invitational final.

  Nagata was named the most outstanding wrestler of the tourney while outstanding wrestler awards went to Inoue in freestyle and Sasamoto in greco-roman.

Results of the invitational finals:


55 kg
Takeshi Sugitani df. Masashi Saito, 7-4

60 kg
Kenji Inoue df. Hiroki Sekikawa, 8-0

66 kg
Muneyuki Suzuki df. Koji Obara, 7-0

74 kg
Yuji Kudo df. Yosuke Kato by fall, 0:27 (4-0)

84 kg
Hidekazu Yokoyama df. Takao Isokawa, 6-0

96 kg
Kiyotaka Kodaira df. Ken Sogabe by fall, 1:52 (7-0)

120 kg (3 entries, round-robin)
Akihito Tanaka df. Koichiro Nishida, 4-0, 6:06


55 kg
Takashi Yasuhara df. Masatoshi Toyota, 3-1

Olympic team wrestle-off
Toyota df. Yasuhara, 5-0

60 kg
Makoto Sasamoto df. Hikaru Ito by TF, 10-0, 1:37

66 kg
Masaaki Izena df. Shinya Ayata, 4-1

74 kg
Katsuhiko Nagata df. Taichi Suga, 3-1, 7:48

84 kg
Shingo Matsumoto df. Mitsuhiro Ota by fall, 1:23 (7-0)

96 kg
Noriaki Ota df. Yusuke Morikaku, 2-1, 9:00

120 kg
Katsuaki Suzuki df. Hirokazu Shinjo, 2-0, 9:00

  TEHERAN (April 16-18) - Kazuhiko Ikematsu reeled in the title that got away last year, pinning Hassan Tahmasi of Iran in the 66-kg final of the Asian freestyle wrestling championships. Ikematsu, leading 2-0 in the second period, cranked the local favorite over with a front headlock for the fall and Japan痴 first Asian freestyle title since 1996.

  In last year痴 championships, Ikematsu also led 2-0 in the second period, but was thrown to his back by Tahmasi out of the overtime clinch for a shocking 3-2 loss. On his way to this year痴 crown, Ikematsu scored a technical fall over fellow Olympic qualifier Ramesh Kumar of India. Also for Japan, Kunihiko Obata lost a first-round match to his Iranian opponent, but bounced back for the bronze medal at 74 kg. Chikara Tanabe, however, sat out the tournament with a high temperature and inflamed lymph nodes from an apparent viral infection.
The results of Japanese entries:

55 kg - Tanabe, Chikara (Did not wrestle, 11 entries)

60 kg - Kojima, Takafumi (11 entries)
R1 - lost to B. Ermatov (UZB), 8-7
R2 - lost to Lee Yong-Chol (PRK), 7-6
R3 - df. Chang Hsiu-we (TPE) by TF, 11-0, 2:38

66 kg - Ikematsu, Kazuhiko (1st, 11 entries)
R1 - df. S. Khadibaev (KAZ), 6-4
R2 - df. P. Urazimbetov (UZB), 3-1
R3 - df. K. Pavlov (TJK) by TF, 10-0, 4:56
SF - df. R. Kumar (IND) by TF, 11-1, 5:37
F1 - df. H. Tahmasi (IRI) by fall, (time not available)

74 kg - Obata, Kunihiko (3rd, 8 entries)
R1 - lost to M. Sadeqnejad (IRI), 3-1
R2 - df. Jung Dee-Yee (KOR) by injury default
R3 - df. Liu Wei (TPE) by fall, 0:18 (3-0)
F3 - df. S. Osmanov (KAZ) by TF, 12-2, 4:38

84 kg - Yamamoto, Satoru (9 entries)
R1 - bye
R2 - df. A. Kumar (IND), 3-0
R3 - lost to M. Kurugliev (KAZ)
C1 - df. Abdo Ali (LIB) by TF, 10-0, 1:15
C2 - lost to Moon Eui-Jae (KOR) by fall, 1:37 (0-3)

96 kg - Moriyama, Masahide (9 entries)
R1 - df. Lin Chin-feng (TPE) by fall, 4:33 (8-5)
R2 - bye
R3 - lost to T. Enkhtaya (MGL), 4-3, 6:23
C1 - lost to A. Krupniakov (KGZ) by fall, 1:04
C2 - lost to Gu Nak-Ja (KOR), 7-2

120 kg - Issei Sugiura (7 entries)
R1 - lost to P. Maasoumi (IRI) by TF, 10-0, 3:43
R2 - lost to D. Gankhuyag (MGL) by fall, 1:54 (0-6)
R3 - df. Abdol Yahya (IRQ), 13-7

Individual champions
55 kg - A. Achilov (UZB)
60 kg - Lee Yong-Choi (PRK)
66 kg - Kazuhiko Ikematsu (JPN)
74 kg - M. Sadeqnejad (IRI)
84 kg - F. Qanbari (IRI)
96 kg - M. Ibragimov (UZB)
120 kg - F. Maasoumi (IRI)

  TOKYO (April 4) - Defending Asia champion Norie Saito and a pair of up-and-coming Chukyo wrestlers won berths on the Japanese national team for the women's Asian Championships in May. Saito (67 kg), Yuri Kai (51) and Kei Yamana (59) will join Japan痴 four Olympic team representatives for the continental championships to be held at the Olympic Memorial Youth Center in Tokyo, May 22-23.

  While Saito won the 67-kg title in last year痴 Asia meet in New Delhi, Kai, a 19-year-old student at Chukyo Women痴 University, and Yamana, 17, of CWU's affiliate high school, will be making their national team debut. Japan痴 representatives in the four Olympic weight categories are Chiharu Icho (48), Saori Yoshida (55), Kaori Icho (63) and Kyoko Hamaguchi (72).

  TOKYO (April 7) - Chances that women痴 wrestling will be included on the program of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha continue to dim, following a meeting of the Olympic Council of Asia on April 6. The OCA was presented with a revised list of sports to be held at the Doha Games, but sources said that women痴 wrestling was not among the additions. Baseball, softball and canoe, which were not on a list of sports submitted by Doha organizers last December, were added to the list of sports for the 2006 Games in Qatar.

  Organizers from the predominantly Islamic nation have said from the beginning that they were worried about trying to stage women痴 wrestling since much of the women's skin is not covered. FILA has asked the OCA to make women痴 wrestling a part of the games.

  TOKYO (APRIL 9) - Images of the fierce-looking guardian kings of Japanese tradition will adorn the singlets worn by Japanese wrestlers at this summer's Olympic Games in Athens. The Japan Wrestling Federation revealed the design of the Olympic singlets at the national training center in Tokyo. Statues of the Nio guardian kings stand at the gates of some shrines,
temples and castles throughout Japan.

  HAPARANDA, Sweden (April 11) - Yoshimitsu Naito and Koji Fukuda were named to the delegation of referees to officiate at the Olympic Games in Athens this summer. Naito, chairman of the officiating committee for the Japan Wrestling Federation, and vice chairman Fukuda were selected at the greco-roman and women's wrestling European championships in Haparanda, April 8-11. Naito and Fukuda both will be officiating in their second Olympic Games
following their work at the Sydney Games in 2000.

  TOKYO (April 26-30) - With Japan's four entries in women痴 wrestling set for the Athens Olympics, the women痴 first pre-Olympic training camp got under way on April 26. The camp was held at the Nihon University campsite in Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture with wrestlers from Greece and Italy taking part. On April 30, the wrestlers took a break from their training to take in an exhibition of Turkish oil wrestling in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture. Suspecting that some of their opponents are applying oil on their bodies as well, the wrestlers remarked that they wanted to see how to tie up an opponent when it is not possible to hold onto them.