To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


   BUDAPEST (September 27) - Japan's freestyle entries on the second day of the wrestling world championships never really had a chance to get rolling. First-round losses left Kunihiko Obata, Satoru Yamamoto and Kiyotaka Kodaira each hoping for a second chance in the repechage at Papp Laszlo Arena in Budapest.

   However, only Kodaira qualified for the wrestle-backs when his first-round opponent and eventual champion Khadshimourad Gatsalov of Russia advanced to the finals at 96 kg. Kodaira could do little against Gatsalov, who won the gold medal at last year's Athens Olympics. The 22-year-old Russian punctuated his victory over Kodaira with a high back-arching throw for five points.

   Getting a second chance in the wrestle backs, Kodaira opened with a quick point against Hungary's Gergely Kiss. He couldn't maintain the momentum, however, as Kiss rallied to take the first two sets and send Kodaira to an early shower. The 22-year-old Gatsalov, meanwhile, went on to win his first world title with a 1-0, 1-0 win over former two-time world champion Luka Kurtanidze of Georgia.

   At 74 kg, Obata could not keep up with the quickness of American Joe Williams and went down 0-2, 0-4 in the first round. Williams, widely considered one of the favorites at 74 kg, fell in the semifinals to Hungary's Arpad Ritter, ending Obata's chances to wrestle back for a bronze medal.

   Williams, who was a bronze medalist in 2001, took one of the bronze medals, while Ritter took home the silver after a hard-fought loss against Russia's Bouvaisa Saitiev. Saitiev won his sixth world championship title, tying him with Sergei Beloglazov and Arsen Fadzaev of the old Soviet Union team for second place among freestyle world champions.

Bulgaria's Valentin Jordanov and another Soviet wrestler Alexander Medved have seven freestyle world titles.
At 84 kg, Yamamoto lost to last year's Asia champion Fereydun Ghanbari of Iran 0-1, 0-2 and was eliminated when Ghanbari lost to 2003 world champion Sazhid Sazhidov of Russia. Sazhidov was tripped up in the semifinals Revaz Mindorashivili of Georgia and missed out on the medals himself. Mindorashivili, a bronze medalist in 2003, went on to win his first world title, edging Cuba's Yoel Romero 1-0, 1-1x, 3-1.

Results of Japanese entries:

74 kg - OBATA, Kunihiko (29th, 36 entries)

R1 - lost to Joe Williams (USA), 0-2 (0-2, 0-4)
Williams strikes in the opening seconds of the bout with a ankle pick and sets the tone of the match as Obata struggles to keep up with the quickness of the 2003 world bronze medalist. Obata's chances to get back into the competition through repechage are dashed when Williams loses to local favorite Arpad Ritter.
84 kg - YAMAMOTO, Satoru (25th, 32 entries)

R1 - lost to Feyedun Ghanbari (IRI), 0-1 (0-1, 0-2)
Yamamoto tries to strike from a distance against Ghanbari, but gives up a late point on a front headlock and go-behind in the first period. The 2004 Asia champion takes his measure of Yamamoto in the second period with a single-leg and another go-behind for a one-sided win. Yamamoto is eliminated when Ghanbari loses to 2003 world champion Sazhid Sazhidov of Russia in the second round.
96 kg - KODAIRA, Kiyotaka (25th, 31 entries)

Q - lost to Khadshimourad Gatsalov (RUS), 0-2 (0-2, 0-5=0:50)
Kodaira drops the first period and then takes a ride on one of Gatsalov's high back-arching throws for five points and the end of the match.

r1 - lost to Gergely Kiss (HUN), 0-2 (1-1x, 1-3)
Kodaira opens with a quick single-leg attack and drives the hometown favorite out of bounds for the lead, but Kiss answers back with a bear hug and force-out for the last point. Kodaira enjoys the advantage again in the second period, but gives up a single-leg and go-behind to make a quick exit from the repechage.