To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


   BUDAPEST (September 30) - Japan took the team title in women's wrestling at the world championships, but there was little to celebrate in the Japanese camp after Kyoko Hamaguchi dropped a controversial decision in the 72-kg final. With four champions, a silver and a bronze, Japan won the team title with 61 points while China was runner-up with 52 points (2-2-1) and the United States third with 42 (1-0-3).

  Japanese coaches and fans, however, were hoping to make it five champions at Papp Laszlo Arena in Budapest as five-time world champion Hamaguchi breezed through her first four matches.
To further fan their hopes, Hamaguchi's opponent in the finals would be American Iris Smith, who she had pinned in the World Cup meet in May.

  In the final, however, Smith drew first blood as she tripped Hamaguchi to her back for three points and then held on to take the first period. Hamaguchi drew even by taking the second period and came out aggressive in the third period. Forty-five seconds into the final period, Hamaguchi dropped in for a single-leg attack and was driving Smith out of the ring when the American hit a hip toss.

As both wrestlers tumbled out of bounds, the referee signaled a point for Hamaguchi while the judge flashed a point of Smith. A video review showed that Hamaguchi's hand and head touched the protection area outside of the ring first, so the point went to Smith. Hamaguchi was unable to make an offensive move over the final minute as Smith held her at bay with a tight defense.

The silver was Hamaguchi's first in the world championships after five gold medals and a bronze in 10 trips to the world meet.

Meanwhile, at 67 kg, Eri Sakamoto picked up a seventh place for the Japanese team with a pin over African champion Hayat Quassir of Morocco in her opening bout. Sakamoto lost to eventual silver medalist Martine Dugrenier of Canada in the round of 16 and then again to bronze medalist Kate Downing of the U.S. in the repechage for third place.

Meng Lili of China won the 67-kg title for her second world championship crown after winning at 62 kg in 2001.
On the opening day of the men's greco-roman competition, Masatoshi Toyota got an early win against China's Jiao Hufeng at 55 kg, but could not advance beyond former world champion and Olympic silver medalist Lazaro Rivas of Cuba.

Toyota finished in 13th place while 19-year-old Hamid Soryan Reihanpour of Iran added the senior world title to the junior crown he won in July.
Results of Japanese entries:

Women 67 kg - SAKAMOTO, Eri (7th, 19 entries)

Q - df. Hayat Quassir (MAR) by fall, 1P=1:54
Sakamoto moves from an ankle pick to the fall against the African continental champion from Morocco.

R1 - lost to Martine Dugrenier (CAN), 0-2 (1-1x, 1-4)
Sakamoto spins around behind for the first point but gives up a late point to surrender the first period. Dugrenier takes control in the second with a double-leg and a pair of ankle turns.

r1 - lost to Kate Downing (USA), 1-2 (2-0, 0-1, 1-3)
Sakamoto takes the first set out of the clinch, but gives up a point for passivity by burying her head against Downing in the second period. Downing opens up in the third with a go-behind and gut wrench for the win.
Women 72 kg - HAMAGUCHI, Kyoko (2nd, 20 entries)

Q - df. Rosangela Conceisao (BRA), 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)
Hamaguchi wrestles cautiously against a dangerous former judoka, taking points from front headlocks and snap-downs.

R1 - df. Olga Zhanibekova (KAZ) by fall, 1P=0:41
Hamaguchi stops an under-arm spin and then forces her opponent over with a bar arm for the quick fall.

QF - df. Wang Jiao (CHN), 2-0 (9-0, 1-0)
Hamaguchi sets the tone of the match in the first period, throwing the reigning Asia champion to her back twice. She closes out the one-sided win with a snap down and go-behind in the second period.

SF - Svetlana Sayenko (UKR), 2-0 (4-0, 2-1)
Hamaguchi picks away at an defensive opponent with go-behinds and a gut wrench for another one-sided win.

F1 - lost to Iris Smith (USA) 2-1 (1-3, 1x-1, 0-1)
Smith trips Hamaguchi to her back midway through the opening stanza and holds on to notch the first period. Hamaguchi takes the second and comes out aggressive in the third period. Hamaguchi initiates a single-leg attack, but Smith counters with a hip throw as both wrestlers tumble out of bounds. After a video review, officials rule that Smith gets the point. Hamaguchi cannot break through Smith's tight defense over the final minute.
Greco-roman 55 kg - TOYOTA, Masatoshi (xx, 35 entries)

Q - df. Jiao Hufeng (CHN), 2-1 (1-1x, 11-2, 5-0=1:07)
Toyota gives up the first period, but roars back with two huge lifts in par terre. Toyota ends the match with a five-point throw in the first par terre of the third period.

R1 - lost to Lazaro Rivas (CUB), 1-2 (1-4, 5-0, 0-7)
Toyota rebounds from first-period loss with a lift and good defense in par terre. In the third period, Toyota is hit with a hands penalty and then gets hoisted over by the former world champion.