To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


   TOKYO (March 25) - Chiharu Icho turned Hitomi Sakamoto away for the 51-kg title and all four of Japan's medalists from the Athens Olympics won championships at the Japan Queens Cup competition. Icho, who took a silver medal at 48 kg in Athens, defeated 2001 FILA female wrestler of the year Sakamoto 1-0, 4-0 at Komazawa Gymnasium in Tokyo
for her first JQC crown in three years.

   The reigning world champion at 51 kg broke Sakamoto's grip in overtime after a scoreless first period and held on for the first-period win. In the second period, Icho spun around behind for a pair of takedowns and then turned Sakamoto over for a another two points to win in straight sets. Icho's younger sister, gold medalist Kaori, posted a pair of falls in the early rounds and then rolled over Erika Matsukawa by technical fall in the final at 63 kg for her fifth straight JQC crown.
Icho was named the outstanding wrestler of the meet.

   Saori Yoshida, another Athens gold medalist, had little trouble at 55 kg, winning her fourth straight title in the meet which was also serving as the national team trials for the Japanese women.

48 kg (10 entries)
Championship final
Makiko Sakamoto df. Yuri Funatsu, 2-0 (6-0=1:19, 6-0=0:51)
(Sakamoto wins 3rd straight JQC title)

Sakamoto df. Hiromi Ikeda by fall, 1:23 (5-0)
Funatsu df. Miyuki Hiraoka, 2-0 (1-1, 1-1)
51 kg (16 entries)
Championship final
Chiharu Icho df. Hitomi Sakamoto, 2-0 (1-0=2:30, 4-0)
(Icho wins 2nd JQC title, 1st in 3 years)

Sakamoto df. Nanae Suzuki by fall, 1:55 (8-0)
Icho df. Yuri Kai, 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)
55 kg (6 entries)
Championship final
Saori Yoshida df. Chikako Matsukawa by fall, 1:37 (5-0)
(Yoshida wins 4th straight JQC title)

Yoshida df. Mayumi Umakoshi, 2-0 (6-0=1:34, 5-0)
Matsukawa df. Miho Shibata, 2-0 (1-1, 8-0=2:00)
59 kg (12 entries)
Championship final
Ayako Shoda df. Hatsumi Nakanishi by fall, 0:28 (4-0)
(Shoda wins 3rd title, 1st in 5 years)

Shoda df. Seiko Yamamoto, 2-0 (3-0, 1-0)
Nakanishi df. Sayuri Watanabe, 2-1 (3-0, 0-3, 4-0)
63 kg (4 entries, round-robin)
Final round
Kaori Icho df. Erika Matsukawa, 2-0 (6-0=0:52, 7-0=0:39)
Yuki Imamura df. Kayoko Kudo, 2-0, (4-1, 2-1)
(Icho wins 5th straight JQC title)
67 kg (4 entries, final round)
Final round
Eri Sakamoto df. Norie Saito, 2-1 (2-0, 1-2, 1-0)
Mami Shinkai df. Mimi Sugawara by fall, 1:47 (6-0)
(Sakamoto wins 2nd JQC title, 1st in 4 years)
72 kg (3 entries, round-robin)
Kyoko Hamaguchi df. Miki Tanaka by fall, 0:31 (3-0)
Ayako Murashima df. Tanaka by fall, 1:59 (7-6)
Hamaguchi df. Murashima by fall, 1:08 (4-0)
(Hamaguchi wins 7th straight, 9th overall JQC title)


  TOKYO (March 25) - Olympic and defending world champions Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho were named to the Japanese squad for this fall's world championships in Budapest. Yoshida (55 kg) and Icho (63) were named to the team along with Makiko Sakamoto (48) and Kyoko Hamaguchi by the Japan Women's Wrestling Federation at the conclusion of the Japan Queens Cup competition. All four wrestlers qualified for this year's national team by winning titles at the Queens Cup meet after taking national championship crowns in December.

  Along with the world championships, all four wrestlers will compete at the women's World Cup meet in France on May 20-21 and in the Asian championships a week later in China. The final three berths on the women's national team will be determined at a special wrestle-off June 23 during the men's national invitational.

  Meanwhile, the winners at 51, 59 and 67 kg at the Japan Queens Cup were named to the Japanese team for the World Cup while the runners-up are slated to wrestle at the Asian championships.