To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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

September wrestling news


   INONAGAWA, Hyogo (October 1-2) - Twin brothers Shinichi and Kenichi Yumoto won freestyle titles at 55 and 60 kg respectively on the opening days of the wrestling competition at the annual National Sports Festival. Kenichi Yumoto, the national collegiate open champion, defeated Tomohiro Matsunaga, a fifth-place finisher at the 2005 world championships, in the semifinals on his way to the 60-kg title.

   Atlanta Olympic bronze medalist at 74 kg Takuya Ota made his first appearance on the mats since the 1999 national championships and took third place after losing in the semifinal round to Hiroki Kayamori.

In the high school division, Kyoto’s Yuki Eita won at 84 kg and completed the high school wrestling grand slam for a second straight year. The high school slam included titles from the invitational (senbatsu) meet in March and the high school national championships -- freestyle (August) and greco-roman (September).

Individual champions were:
Senior freestyle
55 kg - Shinichi Yumoto, Wakayama
60 kg - Kenichi Yumoto, Wakayama
66 kg - Kiyofumi Kanabuchi, Aomori
74 kg - Koji Sakurai, Nagano
84 kg - Yutaka Suzuki, Saitama
96 kg - Takao Isokawa, Kumamoto
120 kg - Seitaro Yoshida, Akita

Schoolboy (High school)
50 kg - Ryuta Iwanaga, Nagasaki
55 kg - Yuta Uchimura, Saga
60 kg - Hiroyuki Oda, Aomori
66 kg - Daigo Yamaguchi, Hyogo
74 kg - Kimihiro Eto, Miyazaki
84 kg - Yuki Eita, Kyoto
96 kg - Yuya Takasago, Yamagata
120 kg - Yuto Aizawa, Miyagi


   INONAGAWA, Hyogo (October 3-4) - National team members Masaki Imuro and Kenzo Kato moved up in weight categories and had little trouble in winning greco-roman titles at the National Sports Festival. Imuro, who wrestled at the world championships a week earlier at 66 kg, won at 74 kg at Inonagawa municipal gymnasium for his third straight sports festival title.

   Kato, meanwhile, won for a third straight year at 120 kg after an 11th-place finish at 96 kg a week earlier in Guangzhou, China.

   In the high school division, Masaharu Kaji from this year’s festival host Hyogo prefecture won at 50 kg for his fifth title of the year. Kaji won all four high school wrestling crowns and the junior national championship title.

Individual winners were:
55 kg - Kohei Hasegawa, Shizuoka
60 kg - Hideo Kitaoka, Shiga
66 kg - Kosuke Murase, Nagano
74 kg - Masaki Imuro, Shiga
84 kg - Tsukasa Tsurumaki, Yamagata
96 kg - Norikatsu Saikawa, Tochigi
120 kg - Kenzo Kato, Saitama
Schoolboy (High school)

50 kg - Masaharu Kaji, Hyogo
55 kg - Yuki Makise, Saitama
60 kg - Yuji Okamoto, Shizuoka
66 kg - Yuji Nakano, Ehime
74 kg - Daijiro Kato, Hyogo
84 kg - Yosuke Sato, Yamagata
96 kg - Nobuaki Ito, Gifu
120 kg - Kazunori Goto, Aichi


   TOKYO (October 4) - Japanese broadcaster Nihon Television scored a healthy 9.9% viewership rating in the Kanto region around Tokyo on the final day of the wrestling world championships in Guangzhou, China.

   The 9.9% rating for the program aired from 10:30 to 11:56 p.m. on October 1 surpassed the 8.3% rating scored by NTV during its prime time broadcast of the women’s World Cup in 2004. NTV also scored a 5.6% rating on September 30 for its late night broadcast from the world championships during which Japanese women won all three gold medals on offer that day.

   During September, NTV averaged a 7.0% rating for its broadcasts of the popular Yomiuri Giants baseball games, so the 9.9% figure is seen as a very healthy showing.


   TOKYO (October 12-13) - Kohei Hasegawa and Hideki Kitaoka each bagged their third titles of the season when they won the 55 kg and 60 kg crowns at the greco-roman collegiate national championship meet. Hasegawa of Aoyama Gakuin and Kitaoka of the Nippon Sports Science University earlier won at the collegiate open meet in August and the National Sports Festival one week ago.

   Meanwhile, Ryuji Yamaguchi of Takushoku defended his title at 96 kg to win the collegiate open and national championships double for a second year. Tsukasa Tsurumaki won at 84 kg for his third triumph overall in the collegiate championships, after winning at 74 kg in 2003 and at 84 kg in 2004.

   In the team race, defending champion Takushoku repeated with two individual winners for its sixth title overall, followed by NSSU and Aoyama Gakuin.

Results of individual finals:
55 kg
Kohei Hasegawa, Aoyama Gakuin df. Ryo Minemura, Kanagawa

60 kg
Hideo Kitaoka, NSSU df. Kenru Maeno, Senshu

66 kg
Fumiya Itakura, AGU df. Kazuki Morikawa, Yamanashi Gakuin

74 kg
Koji Sakurai, Takushoku df. Shigeyasu Sawada, Toyo

84 kg
Tsukasa Tsurumaki (Kokushikan) df. Norikatsu Saikawa (NSSU)

96 kg
Ryuji Yamaguchi (Takushoku) df. Kenzo Sakamoto (Nihon Bunri)

120 kg
Boris Mujikov (YGU) df. Atsushi Nakamura (Takushoku)


   TOKYO (October 18) - The dates for the wrestling competition at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha have been moved back a day, according to information obtained by the Japanese Olympic Committee. The original schedule for the games in Qatar had the wrestling events set for December 8-10, 12-13. The JOC, however, learned recently that the wrestling competition is now set for December 9-11, 13-14.

   The original schedule had been listed in information distributed to the media in July, but the Internet website for the games indicated a different schedule for its ticket sales.

   The Japan Wrestling Federation asked the JOC to obtain the correct schedule from the games organizers for the sake its wrestlers and fans who plan to attend the competition.

The competition schedule obtained by the JOC:
December 9 - Greco-roman 60, 74, 96 kg
10 - GR 55, 66, 84, 120 kg
11 - Women’s Freestyle 48, 55, 63, 72 kg
13 - Men’s Freestyle 60, 74, 96 kg
14 - FS 55, 66, 84, 120 kg


   TOKYO (October 23) - Winners of the shakaijin national championships will form the core of a Japanese squad that will travel to the United States in November to compete at the New York Athletic Club’s international open. The squad will leave for the U.S. on November 15 with the NYAC meet set for November 18-19.

   Winners in the men’s events at the meet will pocket $1,000 while the female champions will take home $400.

Members of the Japanese team:

Men’s freestyle
55 kg - Takeshi Sugitani, Japan Self Defense Forces; Kugo Toshiaki
Kugo, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department
60 kg - Seshito Shimizu, Clean-up
66 kg - Kiyoshi Kuroda, Japan SDF; Kazuhiko Ikematsu, K-Powers
84 kg - Kazuyuki Nagashima, Clean-up; Hiroshi Shibata, Yamaguchi Sports Association
96 kg - Jun Aizawa, Chuo University OB
120 kg - Yoichi Akiba, Japan SDF Gunma

55 kg - Takumu Otsu, Starts
60 kg - Yasuyuki Tanioka, Japan SDF
66 kg - Hiroshi Shimomura, Japan SDF
74 kg - Hideki Goto, Nihon Bunri staff
84 kg - Mitsuhiro Ota, Oita Sports Association
96 kg - Ken Sogabe, Kokushikan Club

51 kg - Makiko Sakamoto, Japan SDF
55 kg - Hitomi Sakamoto, Japan SDF; Yu Sekine, Japan SDF


   TOKYO (October 26) - The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) named Saori Yoshida its flag-bearer for the opening ceremony of the Doha Asian Games in December. Yoshida, her extended her international undefeated streak to 101 at the world championships in September, was the flag-bearer for Japan at last year’s Universiade.

   The JOC also selected Olympic gold medalist winner Yosuke Kitajima captain of the Japanese delegation for the Asian Games.


   NAGOYA (October 26) - Olympic and world champion Kaori Icho has indicated that she will join the wrestling club of ALSOK Sogo Keibi next spring. The Chukyo Women’s University senior will join older sister Chiharu Icho and former CWU teammate Saori Yoshida on the roster of Japanese Olympians supported by the security firm.

   Icho (63 kg) and Yoshida (55 kg) have each won four world championship titles along with the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Icho’s sister, Chiharu, is the Olympic silver medalist at 48 kg and the recently crowned world champion.


   TOKYO (October 29) - The Japan Wrestling Federation has decided to award any Japanese winner of a medal in men’s freestyle or greco-roman at next year’s world championships an Olympic berth in 2008. The only condition the JWF’s national team committee will require is that the medalist enter the national championship meet in December.

   The 2007 world championships will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan next September. It will serve as the first round of qualifying for the 2008 Olympics with the top eight places in each category awarded berths.

   Japanese wrestlers who do not medal in Baku but secure Olympic berths for Japan by finishing in fifth to eighth place will secure the berth for themselves by winning at the national championships. If another wrestler happens to win, a wrestle-off for the Olympic berth will be arrange.

   The qualification system for berths on the Japanese women’s squad is still being studied.