To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


  TOKYO (July 6) - Olympic champion Saori Yoshida will carry the Japanese flag at the opening ceremony of the upcoming World University Games in Turkey, the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) announced on July 6. Yoshida won the gold medal at 55 kg last summer in Athens in the Olympic debut of women’s wrestling and is the odds-on favorite to win at the August 11-21 Universiade in Izmir.

  Swimmer Ai Shibata, another gold medalist from Athens, was named Japanese team captain for the student games by the JOC. Yoshida is the second wrestler to be named as flag-bearer for a major international event after five-time world champion Kyoko Hamaguchi headed up the Japanese delegation in Athens last summer.


  TOKYO (July 9-10) - Wrestlers from the Japan Self Defense Forces club took three titles in greco-roman and another two in freestyle at the Shakaijin national championships at the Olympic Memorial Youth Center. The SDF winners were Bunsei Murakami (55 kg), Shinichiro Moriyama (60) and Junji Kawamukai (66) in greco-roman. Hideki Taoka (55) and Kazutaka Watanabe (84) added a pair of titles for the SDF in freestyle.

  Meanwhile, world team member Ayako Shoda won in her debut for the Japan Beverage team, taking the women’s crown at 63 kg and leading her teammates to the freestyle team title. Individual winners are scheduled to compete in the Sunkist Open in the United States this fall.

Team winners:
Company category - ALSOK Sogo Keibu Security
Club category - Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department
Women’s team - Japan Beverage

Greco-roman individual winners:
55 kg - Bunsei Murakami, Japan SDF
60 kg - Shinichiro Moriyama, Japan SDF
66 kg - Hikaru Ito, Kurashiki Club
74 kg - Atsushi Kawamukai, Japan SDF
84 kg - Mitsuhiro Ota, Oita Wrestling Association
96 kg - Yasuhiro Mori, Nittai OB club
130 kg - Manabu Fusehira, Kurashiki Club

Freestyle individual winners:
55 kg - Hideki Taoka, Japan SDF
60 kg - Shinya Odate, Kokushikan Club
66 kg - Ryosuke Ota, Tokyo MPD
74 kg - Yuji Kudo, Kurashiki Club
84 kg - Kazutaka Watanabe, Japan SDF
96 kg - Takenori Yokoyama, Kurashiki Club
120 kg - Mitsuhide Hirasawa, New Japan Pro Wrestling Club

Women individual winners:
48 kg - no entries
51 kg - Hiroko Yamada, Yoyogi Club
55 kg - Ninako Hattori, CWU Club
59 kg - Rena Iwama, ALSOK Sogo Keibi Security
63 kg - Ayako Shoda, Japan Beverage
67 kg - Eri Sakamoto, CWU Club
72 kg - Norie Saito, Japan Beverage


  GUELPH, Canada (July 8-9) - Takako Oshima of Fukuoka University won all three of her bouts to take the 59-kg crown at the Canada Cap wrestling tournament and was named the outstanding wrestler of the women’s competition.

  Oshima was part of a student select team from western Japan that attended the international event in Canada. Taiki Sakai of Minami Kyushu University and Daigo Fujinaga of Ritsumeikan University earned sixth-place finishes at 55 kg and 60 kg, respectively, in men’s freestyle.


  TOKYO (July 13) - The Japanese men’s freestyle and greco-roman teams will travel to Poland in August for joint training camps and some international competition in their final overseas tune-up before this year’s world championships. A relatively untested freestyle team, led by head coach Takahiro Wada, is scheduled to be in Poland August 1-15, taking part in the Ziolkowski International on August 13-14. Former world bronze medalist Kazuhiko Ikematsu will not be part of the freestyle delegation since he is part of Japan’s delegation at the August 11-21 Universiade in Izmir, Turkey.

  The veteran greco-roman team, under the guidance of Hiromichi Ito and Hiroshi Kado, will leave for Poland on August 3 and take part in the prestigious Pytlasinski International in Raciborz on August 19-21 before returning home.


   TOKYO (July 14) - The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) has informed the Japan Wrestling Federation (JWF) that women’s wrestling will be contested in the four Olympic weight categories at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha. Women’s wrestling made its debut at the 2002 Asian Games in Pusan, Korea at the four weight categories designated for Olympic competition -- 48, 55, 63 and 72 kg. In Pusan, however, participating countries were limited to entries in only three of the four weight categories. It was not clear if the same restrictions would be in place for the Doha Games.

  The wrestling competition in the Qatari capitol is scheduled for December 8-10 and December 12-14. Three weight categories -- in greco-roman and men’s and women’s freestyle -- are to be contested on each day of the competition.

  The opening ceremony of the games is set for December 1 with the closing ceremony scheduled for December 15.


  TOKYO (July 16) - Two-time Olympic gold medalist Yojiro Obata (formerly Yojiro Uetake) will be inducted into the FILA Wrestling Hall of Fame, the international wrestling federation has said in a message to the Japan Wrestling Federation.

  Obata, who won gold medals at the 1964 Tokyo and 1968 Mexico City Olympics, will be presented with an award on October 2 on the final day of this year’s world championships in Budapest. Obata will join Yuji Takada as the second Japanese inductee to the Hall of Fame.

  Obata attended Oklahoma State University in the United States as an exchange student and won three straight national collegiate titles for OSU. Widely considered the best U.S. collegiate wrestler of the 1960s, Obata was inducted into the U.S. wrestling hall of fame in 1980.

 “When I was named to the U.S. hall of fame on the recommendation of my old teacher, Mr. (Myron) Roderick, I was very happy. Being inducted into the world hall of fame is a different kind of happy,” Obata said. “I don’t know yet if I’ll go to Budapest, but I will go happily if I know that some of my old teammates will be there,” he added.


  ISE, Mie Prefecture (July 23-25) - The Suite community wrestling club near Osaka rolled up 100 points to easily win its fifth straight and 19th overall national schoolboy and schoolgirl wrestling championship title.

  A total of 1,197 wrestlers from 138 clubs, including teams from the United States, Canada and China, took part in the competition making it the second largest gathering in the tournament’s 22-year history. Along with Suita, the Ishi Junior Club of Mie Prefecture, the Miyahara Gym and Mito Municipal Sports Club each had 30 points to share the title for teams with fewer than 10 entries. Mito’s Hirotaka Abe won the 22-kg crown for sixth graders, giving him his sixth straight schoolboy title since winning in 2000 as a first-grader.


  OARAI, Ibaraki Prefecture (July 28-30) - Gunma high school student Atsushi Matsumoto won the freestyle 69-kg crown at the Asia cadet wrestling championships at Oarai Sports Park Gymnasium. Matsumoto of Tatebayashi high school in Gunma recorded a pair of falls and then edged India’s Sandeep with an overtime takedown for a 2-1 win and the championship.

  Matsumoto was also named the outstanding wrestler of the freestyle competition. Matsumoto is the second Japanese wrestler in men’s freestyle to win an Asia cadet title after Shinya Matsumoto (no relation) won the 76-kg title in 2001.

  Also in freestyle, Yuki Eitata of Amino high school in Kyoto took the silver medal at 76 kg and Mamoru Handa of the Amino Schoolboys wrestling club won a bronze at 42 kg. Japan was third in the team standings behind India with three individual champions and Iran with a pair of titlists.

  Japan also picked up a pair of silver and bronze medals in the greco-roman competition. Masaharu Kaji (50 kg) and Maki Chikada (100 kg), both of Ikuei high school near Kobe, both won silver medals. Tadahira Yago (46 kg), a junior high school student from Chiba, and Shinichi Nakai (54 kg) of Keihoku high school in Tokyo earned bronze medals. It was the first time in five Asia cadet meets that Japan won as many as four medals.

  Iran’s Alireza Akbami was named the outstanding greco-roman wrestler after winning the 100-kg crown.

  In the women’s competition, Amino’s Fuyuko Mimura (46 kg) and Miki Enomoto of Yokkaichi Yotsugo high school in Mie won titles for a second straight year as six Japanese wrestlers in all were victorious and three more finished second. The other female winners for Japan were Chiaki Fujikawa (38 kg) of the Wako club in Saitama, Yu Horiuchi (43 kg) of the Amino youth club, Sachiko Suzuki (49 kg ) of Mibu high school in Tochigi and Yoshiko Inoue of Shigakukan high school in Aichi.

  India’s Geeta, the winner at 52 kg, was named the outstanding female wrestler.



  OARAI, Ibaraki Prefecture (July 31) - Former collegiate wrestling champions Shoji Shinozaki and Kazuyuki Nagashima claimed titles in the inaugural beach wrestling national championships.

  A total of 293 wrestlers, including 40 women, took part in the event, dubbed the Don Quixote Cup, at Oarai’s Sun Beach. Shinozaki, winner of the beach heavyweight title, won all four major collegiate wrestling titles in 1996 for Nippon Sports Science University and later wrestled for the Japan Self Defense Forces team. Lightweight champion Nagashima reigned as the college champion at 74 kg from 2001 to 2003 for Waseda University.

  In the women’s event, Takako Saito of Takushoku University won the lightweight title, while 1999 Asia champion at 75 kg Taeko Tomioka won the heavyweight crown.