To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


  TOKYO (June 23) - Japan's 21-member squad for the world championships in Budapest this fall was finalized on the at the Meiji Nyugyo Cup national invitational tournament.

  The final day of the men's invitational meet at Yoyogi National Gymnasium also included three wrestle-offs for the women's national team. The Japanese team will feature five-time world champion Kyoko Hamaguchi, making her 10th straight appearance on the world team and tying Shoko Yoshimura's record of 10 trips to the world championships.

  The squad will also include five newcomers -- Yuki Iwasaki (greco-roman, 74 kg), Naoki Sawada (GR, 120), Kenichi Yumoto (FS, 60), Satoru Yamamoto (FS, 84) and Eri Sakamoto (women, 67). The world championships will be held in Budapest, Hungary from September 26 to October 2.

The Japanese national team representatives:

55 kg - Masatoshi Toyota, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department
60 kg - Makoto Sasamoto, ALSOK Shogo Keibi Hosho
66 kg - Masaki Imuro, Japanese Self Defense Forces
74 kg - Yuki Iwasaki, Ginsuiso club
84 kg - Shingo Matsumoto, Ichimiya Transport Co.
96 kg - Kenzo Kato, SDF
120 kg - Naoki Sawada, Tokuyama University club
55 kg - Tomohiro Matsunaga, ALSOK
60 kg - Kenichi Yumoto, Nippon Sports Science University
66 kg - Kazuhiko Ikematsu, K-Powers
74 kg - Kunihiko Obata, ALSOK
84 kg - Satoru Yamamoto, Okayama wrestling association
96 kg - Kiyotaka Kodaira, Tokyo MPD
120 kg - Akihito Tanaka, FEG
48 kg - Makiko Sakamoto, Wako club
51 kg - Hitomi Sakamoto, SDF
55 kg - Saori Yoshida, ALSOK
59 kg - Ayako Shoda, Japan Beverage
63 kg - Kaori Icho, Chukyo Women痴 University
67 kg - Eri Sakamoto, CWU club
72 kg - Kyoko Hamaguchi, Japan Beverage


  TOKYO (June 19) - Olympic champion Saori Yoshida received the JOC Prize as one of Japan's outstanding Olympic athletes of 2004. The award was presented to Yoshida at an Olympic commemorative party held at Tokyo's NHK Hall. ・I'm very happy to receive such a prestigious award for my efforts in Athens,・said Yoshida, who won the gold medal at 55 kg in the Olympic debut of women's wrestling. ・It early one year has passed since the Olympics and I have the feeling I must work harder this year than last year. I look forward to everyone's continuing support as we look ahead to the Universiade in August.・

  The Japanese Olympic Committee has created four types of awards to honor people who have made notable contributions to the Olympic Movement in Japan. The award for Japan's most outstanding athlete of the year went to
Mizuki Noguchi, who won the gold medal in the women's marathon in Athens.


  TOKYO (June 24) - Former 62-kg world champion Ayako Shoda, who qualified for this year's world team at 59 kg, will join the Japan Beverage company in July. The Toyo University graduate, who began wrestling as a youngster in the Suita community center near Osaka, wrestled at Amino high school in Kyoto before coming to Toyo.

  Along with being the world champion at 62 kg in 1999, Shoda has also won the Asian championship three times and the world university crown in 2004. Unable to overcome eventual gold medalist Kaori Icho for a berth on last year's Olympic team at 63 kg, Shoda dropped to 59 kg and won the Japan Queens Cup crown in March. Shoda earned the 59-kg berth on the world team when national champion Hatsumi Nakanishi defaulted in their national team wrestle-off. Also, as a recent graduate of Toyo, Shoda will also represent Japan at the Universiade in Turkey in August.

  The Japan Beverage wrestling club is headed up by Athens Olympics head coach Akira Suzuki and includes six-time world champion Kyoko Hamaguchi, four-time winner Seiko Yamamoto and national team veteran Norie Saito.


  JEJU, Korea (June 8-12) - The Japanese women won seven of eight gold medals on offer in the Asian junior championships and Shigeki Ozawa claimed Japan's first men's title in 20 years in the continental junior meet. Aichi high school star Mio Nishimaki led the charge for the women with a pair of falls on her way to the 63-kg title and was named the outstanding
wrestler of the women7s tourney.Also winning for Japan were Megumi Shindo (44 kg), Yuki Katafuchi (48),
Nanae Suzuki (51), Mizuho Shibata (55), Kei Yamana (59) and Mami Shinkai (67).

  China's Bu Fang prevented a Japanese sweep of the gold medals with a 5-1, 4-0 win over Miki Tanaka in the five-wrestler round robin competition at 72 kg. ・All of the wrestlers are getting stronger. If they continue to get better, the battle of a place on the national team for the Beijing Olympics (in 2008) will be real tough,・said head coach Kazuhito Sakae. ・The members of the senior national team cannot afford to be careless,・ Sakae added.

  Meanwhile, Shigeki Osawa of Yamanashi Gakuin University won four hard-fought matches at 60 kg in freestyle to become for the first Japanese male to win in the Asian junior championships since 1985. In 1985, Ryo Kanahama (52) and Takumi Ito (60) both won gold medals at the Asian junior championships in Tokyo.

  In addition to Osawa's gold, Japan also got a bronze medal from Aichi high school student Shogo Maeda at 55 kg in freestyle.
In greco-roman, Ryo Minemura of Kanagawa University (55 kg), NSSU's Daiyu Nagatomo and Katsunobu Takeuchi of Kokushikan University (120) won bronze medals for Japan.


  OSAKA (June 25) - The West Japan Collegiate Wrestling Federation will dispatch a select team to Canada to take part in the annual Canada Cup competition.

  Fukuoka University wrestlers have taken part in the Canada Cup meet on their own in the past, but federation officials decided to send an all-star squad this year in an effort to improve the level of wrestling in western Japan. The squad for the July 8-9 meet in Guelph, Ontario will include 11 men and four women.