To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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

M. Sakamoto leaves CWU for Wako WC

  WAKO, Saitama (April 1) - Chukyo Women’s University freshman Makiko Sakamoto has left Japan’s top female wrestling team to join older sister Hitomi at practice with the Japan Self Defense Forces (SDF) club. The younger Sakamoto, widely considered Japan’s future at 48 kg, expects to take the SDF entrance exam in the fall and formally join the Japanese military team next spring. “I want to practice with Hitomi. And together we will aim for the Beijing Olympics,” Sakamoto said after a winter tour of Russia. “I’m really grateful Mr. (Kazuhito) Sakae for all he did at CWU to make me a national champion, but the feeling that I want to be with my sister and aim for Beijing together keeps getting stronger.”

  CWU and national team head coach Sakae was philosophical about Sakamoto’s departure from the team. “We have to respect Makiko’s wishes and we hope the SDF coaches will teach her well,” Sakae said. “Along with her older sister, we hope that one plus one equals three, or even four. And even though she will be practicing with the SDF team, I will see her at national team training camps and I will still train her with the goal of becoming a world and Olympic champion.”

  Meanwhile, the head coach of the Wako wrestling club, Kenji Fujikawa remarked “I want to thank Mr. Sakae for letting us have his student. I’m eager to get to work with her, but I also feel a sense of responsibility.” “First, we will aim for the world championship title this year. And then, do our best to win the gold medal in Beijing and repay our debt to Mr. Sakae.”

  Sakamoto won the national championship title at 48 kg last December and followed up with the Japan Queens Cup crown in March to secure berths on the Japanese national team for the World Cup as well as the Asian and world championships. This year’s World Cup meet will be held May 20-21 in Tourcoing, France with the Asian championships a week later in Wuhan, China. The world championships are set for this fall in Budapest. Sakamoto has also indicated a desire to wrestle in the junior world championships in Lithuania in July.


  TOKYO (April 1) - The head of the Japan Women’s Wrestling Federation (JWWF) was elected a vice president of the Japanese Olympic Committee by the JOC executive board.

  Kiyoko Ono had been serving as head of the JOC’s athlete performance enhancement subcommittee. Meanwhile, Tomiaki Fukuda, president of the Japan Wrestling Federation, was named chairman of the JOC’s committee for the establishment of a national training center.


  TOKYO (April 12) - Japan Queens Cup runner-up Ayako Murashima was named to the Japanese national team for the Asian championships in May after Kyoko Hamaguchi decided to sit out the May 28-29 meet in Wuhan, China. Concerns have been raised about recent anti-Japanese demonstrations in China to protest Japan’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council and the approval of some controversial high school history textbooks.


  TOKYO (April 8) - The Asian cadet wrestling championships, for wrestlers 16 and 17 years old, will be held July 28-30 in the Ibaraki seaside town of Oarai. Competition in boys’ freestyle will be held on July 28 with greco-roman set for the following day. The girls’ events will be contested on July 30.

  This will be the fifth Asian cadet meet for boys since FILA did away with the world championships in 2000 and urged the creation of continental meets for the young wrestlers. The meet will be the third for girls. As host country, Japan will be allowed to enter two wrestlers in each weight category.


  TOKYO (April 20) - The men’s and women’s freestyle Asia Cup meet is set for November 25-27 in the Mongolian capital city of Ulan Bator, according to FILA’s official homepage. The site and dates for the greco-roman Asia Cup competition is not yet listed.

  The first Asia Cup meet was held in Kazakstan in 2003. The Japanese women finished second to China.


  YOKOHAMA (April 23) - Up-and-coming Mio Nishimaki led the charge as five women from Chukyo Women’s University and its affiliate high school took junior titles on the first day of the JOC Cup junior-cadet national championships.

  Nishimaki of Shigakkan high school in Aichi easily defeated Eriko Tanaka of Waseda University for the 63-kg crown at Yokohama’s Bunka Gymnasium.

Junior titlists were:
44 kg - Megumi Shindo, Sakai Women’s Junior College
48 kg - Yukiko Katabuchi, Doshisha University
51 kg - Nanae Suzuki, Waseda University
55 kg - Miho Shibata, Chukyo Women’s University
59 kg - Kei Yamana, CWU
63 kg - Mio Nishimaki, Shigakkan high school
67 kg - Mami Shinkai, CWU
72 kg - Miki Tanaka, CWU


  YOKOHAMA (APRIL 24) - Nihon University sophomore Noriyuki Takatsuka needed three periods to prevail over former high school teammate Shigeki Ozawa, but held on to reclaim the 60-kg freestyle title at the JOC Cup junior-cadet national championships.

  Takatsuka gave up the first period to Ozawa, now a freshman at Yamanashi Gakuin University, but then bounced back to take the final two periods at Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium to win the crown he also won in 2003. Takatsuka, who won all four major national high school titles in 2003, and Ozawa, who claimed three last year, were teammates at Kasumigaura high school in Ibaraki.

  Meanwhile, Norikatsu Saikawa, a collegiate national champion last year as a freshman at Nippon Sports Science University, handily won the 84-kg greco-roman crown. Winners in the junior division will represent Japan at the junior world championships in Lithuania in July.

Winners in the junior divisions were:
50 kg - Shota Nagae, Kokushikan Univeristy
55 kg - Yasuhiro Inaba, Senshu University
60 kg - Noriyuki Takatsuka, Nihon University
66 kg - Kohei Fujimoto, Takushoku University
74 kg - Naoki Akimoto, NU
84 kg - Junki Kadoma, Nippon Sports Science University
96 kg - Takahiro Shimonaka, KU
120 - kg - Shinken Arakida, Kosei Gakuin high school

50 kg - Kazuhito Nagatsuka, Toyo University
55 kg - Isshin Kuramoto, Takushoku
60 kg - Yoshitaka Kido, Tokuyama University
66 kg - Rei Ikematsu, Nihon Bunri University
74 kg - Takao Nezu, Waseda University
84 kg - Norikatsu Saikawa, NSSU
96 kg - Ryuji Yamaguchi, Takushoku
120 kg - Atsushi Nakamura, Takushoku