To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world
By William May
（Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public
Kyodo World Services, senior sports writer：email@example.com）
YAMAMOTO TOPS IWAMA ON OPENING DAY OF JQC
TOKYO (February 23) - World champion
Seiko Yamamoto pinned Japan's reigning national
champion at 59 kg Rena Iwama on Monday the
first day of the Japan Queens Cup competition.
Yamamoto, who won the world title at 59 kg
in New York last fall, flattened Iwama in
2:39 in a preliminary pool bout at 55 kg
at Komazawa Gymnasium in Tokyo.
Yamamoto, who also pinned former Nihon
University teammate Chikako Matsukawa, is
scheduled to wrestle a third bout and then
will likely face two-time world champion
Saori Yoshida for the title on Tuesday.
Yoshida, who also recorded on a fall
on Monday, can sew up a ticket to this summer's
Athens Olympics with a win in the championship
final on Tuesday. Yamamoto, meanwhile, is
hoping to force a wrestle-off for the Olympic
team berth with a win over Yoshida, after
losing to her in overtime in the national
championships in December.
In other action, 51-kg world champion
Chiharu Icho won her pool at 48 kg with a
pair of technical falls to advance to the
semifinals. With a trip to Athens at stake,
the other semifinalists at 48 kg are Misato
Shimizu, Makiko Sakamoto and Miyu Yamamoto.
Icho's younger sister and two-time world
champion, Kaori racked up three pins to advance
to the semifinals, while Asia champion Ayako
Shoda kept pace on the other side of the
bracket at 63 kg.
Kyoko Hamaguchi scored a pair of falls
at 72 kg and will face Japan Beverage teammate
Norie Saito for the championship and a ticket
to Athens on Tuesday.