To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


  TOKYO (February 24) - The Japan Wrestling Federation announced that the special women’s wrestle-off for an Olympic team berth at 48 kg has been postponed from March 16 to April 13. The wrestle-off will take place on the final day of the Meiji Nyugyo Cup men’s invitational and national team trials at Komazawa Gymnasium in Tokyo.

  The wrestle-off between national champion Chiharu Icho and Japan Queen’s Cup winner Makiko Sakamoto was postponed because the original venue at the national training center is too small to accommodate all the interested media.
Some 200 journalists from 70 media organizations in Japan covered the Japan Queen’s Cup event in February.

  The JWF said it wanted to try and avoid the confusion that might occur by forcing too many journalists and camera crews into a small venue. Women’s wrestling will make its debut on the Olympic program this August in Athens and Japan is favored to win a lion’s share of the medals.


  TOKYO (February 1) - Japan’s three freestyle world place-winners will compete in the Yasar Dogu International in Ankara, Turkey, March 12-14. Chikara Tanabe (55 kg), who finished seventh at last year’s freestyle world championships, Kazuhiko Ikematsu (66, third) and Kunihiko Obata (74, 10th) will be accompanied by national team coach Takahiro Wada.

  The three wrestlers qualified for the Olympics in Athens this summer by virtue of their places at the world championships last September and were exempted from the two freestyle qualifying events in February. The group is scheduled to leave March 8 and return on March 16.


  TOURCOING, France (February 1) - High school students Tomomi Kawamura and Hiroe Suzuki won titles in the cadet division at the Gilbert Schaub International in Tourcoing, France. Kawamura, who won the 46-kg category, is a student at the high school affiliate of Chukyo Women’s University near Nagoya while 65-kg champion Suzuki is a student at Ritsumeikan Uji high school in Kyoto.

  Japan also got second-place performances from Keiko Yamauchi (49 kg) of Aomori Shogyo high school, Yuka Watanabe (52) from Fukushima and Mizuka
Kajita of CWU high school. The Japanese cadet team finished second overall to Germany.

  In the senior division, Nanae Suzuki of Tochigi took second at 51 kg while Megumi Maehara of CWU was third. The Japanese team had to settle for fifth place. Also in the senior division, Carol Hyun of Canada (48 kg), Gudrun Hoeie
of Norway (55), Austria’s Nicola Hartmann (63) and Germany’s Anita
Schaetzle (72) won at the Olympic weight categories.


  COLORADO SPRINGS, U.S. (February 6-8) - Takushoku University Bunsei Murakami took a third place and former national champion Katsuhiko Nagata a fourth at the Dave Schultz Memorial wrestling tournament. Murakami, who wrestled at 55 kg, was a member of a select team comprised mostly of Japanese collegians, while Nagata, at 74 kg, had been practicing at the U.S. training site in Colorado Springs.

  Also placing from Japan in the greco-roman competition were Atsushi Kanno (74, fifth), Ryosuke Kogawa (74, sixth) and Naoki Sawada (120, 6th). Japan finished third in the team standings in greco-roman and was sixth in freestyle.