To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


  WALBRZYCH, Poland (March 13) - Converted freestyle wrestler Shingo Hirai claimed Japan's third bronze medal of the Poland Open greco-roman wrestling tournament with a straight sets win over Thomas Ronningen of Norway at 55 kg.

  Hirai, who has won Japanese national championships in both styles, joined fellow veterans Taichi Suga and Shingo Matsumoto in bringing home the hardware from their winter tour of Poland. Suga and Matsumoto won bronze medals on the first day of the Poland Open at 74 kg and 84 kg, respectively. The Japanese delegation was in Poland for a two-week training camp and then this weekend's competition.

  In the bronze medal match, Hirai had little trouble against the 19-year-old Ronningen. Hirai took the first-period clinch and threw Ronningen to his back for the lead. In the second period, Hirai threw the son of two-time Olympic champion Jon Ronningen with a one-arm throw and then coasted to the win and the bronze medal.

  The bronze medal, however, had to be bittersweet for Hirai after having two points and a possible win erased in the semifinals against Polish national champion Pawel Kramarz. In the hard-fought semifinal, Hirai gave up the first period in the clinch to Kramarz. In the second period, however, Hirai hit a one-arm throw that Kramarz appeared to counter by using his legs.

  What was originally signaled as a two-point penalty for Hirai was later erased when the coaches protested and a video review was made. Hirai, then, went on to lose in the clinch again and was relegated to match for third place.
Results of matches involving Japanese wrestlers and the medal matches:
55 kg - HIRAI, Shingo (3rd, 21 entries)
1R - bye
2R - df. Piotr Jablonski (POL), 2-1 (0-3=2:17, 1-0, 1-0)
QF - df. Jonni Laulainen (FIN), 2-0 (3-1, 1-0)
SF - lost to Pawel Kramarz (POL), 0-2 (0-3=2:04, 0-1=2:10)
F3 - df. Thomas Ronningen (NOR), 2-0 (3-0=2:10, 3-0)
55 kg - MURAKAMI, Bunsei (8th, 21 entries)
1R - df. Mateusz Waligora (POL), 2-0 (2-0, 7-0t=0:17)
QF - lost to Im Dae-Won (KOR), 1-2 (1-0=2:07, 0-5, 0-1)
55-kg medal finals
F1 - Pawel Kramarz (POL) df. Park Eun-Chul (KOR), 2-0 (3-0=2:02, 0-2, 2:00)
F3 - Shingo Hirai (JPN) df. Thomas Ronningen (NOR), 2-0 (3-0=2:10, 3-0)
F3 - Im Dae-Won (KOR) df. Kim Jang-Tae (KOR), 2-1 (3-0, 0-1, 1-0)
96 kg - MORIKAKU, Yusuku (11th, 23 entries)
1R - bye
2R - df. Andrei Batura (BLR), 2-0 (1-0=2:15, 1-0=2:30)
QF - lost to V. Sidlauskas (LTU), 0-2 (0-1=2:04, 0-1=2:05)
96 kg medal finals
F1 - Roman Meduna (SVK) df. Justin Ruiz (USA), 2-1 (0-1=2:04, 3-0, 1-0=2:04)
F3 - Jimmy Lidberg (SWE) df. V. Sidlauska (LTU), 2-0 (3-0, 1-0)
F3 - M. Ezerskis (LTU) df. Csaba Farkas (SVK), 2-0 (3-0, 2-0)
120 kg - SHINJO, Hirokazu (13th, 13 entries)
1R - bye
QF - lost to Marek Mikulski (POL), 0-2 (0-6=0:40, 0-3=2:04)
c1 - lost to Russ Davie (USA), 0-2 (0-3, 0-3)
120 kg medal finals
F1 - Dremiel Byers (USA) df. Marek Mikulski (POL), 2-1 (0-3=2:05, 1-0=2:07, 1-0=2:04)
F3 - Sergiy Pavlov (UKR) df. Russ Davie (USA), 2-0 (3-0, 1-0)
F3 - Nico Schmidt (GER) df. Bakir Fatih (TUR), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)