To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


    GUANGZHOU, China (September 27) - Noriyuki Takatsuka, wrestling with savvy and tenacity, won a bronze medal at 60 kg in freestyle wrestling on the third day of the world championships at Tianhe Gymnasium in Guangzhou. It was Japan’s first medal in the world championships since Kazuhiko Ikematsu won the freestyle bronze medal at 66 kg in New York in 2003.

    Takatsuka, in his first appearance at the world championships, forced former European champion Vasyl Fedorishin of Ukraine out of bounds from the clinch twice in the bronze-medal match to secure a 1-0, 1-0 victory. The Nihon University student’s medal capped a day that included four hard-fought wins at 60 kg and one heartbreaking semifinal loss to eventual champion Seyed Mohammadi of Iran.

    Mohammadi, a bronze medalist one year ago in Budapest, edged American Mike Zadick 1-0, 1-1 in the 60-kg final while the second bronze medal at 60 kg went to Athens Olympic champion at 55 kg Mavlet Batirov of Russia.

    At 55 kg, Hidenori Taoka missed on a pair of attempted footsweeps and fell 1-2, 0-4 in the first round to last year’s European champion Ghenadie Tulbea of Moldava. Leading 1-0 in the first period, Taoka gave up the go-ahead point on a missed sweep. Another failed footsweep in the second period allowed Tulbea to drop Taoka onto his back and out of the competition.

    Taoka was eliminated when Tulbea lost in the next round to former Olympic bronze medalist Amiran Kartanov of Greece.

    In the final at 55 kg, Radoslav Velikov of Bulgaria, a runner-up one year ago, edged former junior world champion Besik Kudukhov of Russia 3-0, 1-0 for the gold medal. The bronze medals went to the “old men” -- Sydney Olympic finalists Namig Abdullayev of Azerbaijan and American Sammie Henson.

On the final day of the greco-roman competition, Japan’s Katsuaki Suzuki made a quick exit after a one-sided loss to former European champion Sergey Artyoukhin of Belarus. Artyoukhin went on to win the bronze medal with another one-sided win over Sweden’s Jalmar Sjoberg, while this year’s European champion Ismail Guzel of Turkey took the other bronze.

Olympic gold medalist Khasan Baroev defeated defending world champion Mijail Lopez of Cuba 6-0, 6-0 to give Russia its first, and only, greco-roman title of the championships.
Results of matches involving Japanese entries:

60 kg - TAKATSUKA, Noriyuki (3rd, 30 entries)
Pr - df. Abil Ibrahimov (AZE), 2-0 (3x-3, 3-0)
Takatsuka scored with a flying double-leg takedown for three points and the tie-breaker in the first period, then took single points with three double-legs in the second to defeat the 2001 junior world champion.

R1 - df. Didier Pais (FRA), 2-1 (1-5, 1-0, 3-1)
Takatsuka overcame the shock of being thrown to his back in the first period to forge a win out of force-out and go-behind points against the 2005 European silver medalist.

QF - df. Gergo Woller (HUN), 2-1 (0-2, 1-0, 2-1)
With Woller holding the tiebreaker at 1-1, Takatsuka ducked under a front headlock attempt and spun around behind for the winning point at 1:58 of the third period.

SF - lost to Seyed Mohammadi (IRI), 0-2 (0-4, 0-1)
Takatsuka gives up a go-behind point and a pair of cross-ankle turns in the first period, and comes out of a scramble late in the second period on the bottom.

F3 - df. Vasyl Fedorishin (UKR), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
Takatsuka and Fedorishin, who lost to Japan’s Kenji Inoue in the Athens Olympic bronze-medal match, wrestled tentatively. Both periods were decided with Takatsuka winning the toss for the clinch.
55 kg - TAOKA, Hidenori (xx, 30 entries)
Pr - lost to Ghenadie Tulbea (MDA), 0-2 (1-2, 0-4)
Taoka missed with pair of foot sweeps, giving up the go-ahead point in the first period and getting dropped to his back in the second period.
120 kg - SUZUKI, Katsuaki (xx, 21 entries)
R1 - lost to Sergei Artyukhin (BLR), 0-2 (0-4, 0-4)
Suzuki was flipped over with a reverse waistlock and turn in the first period and gave up a gut wrench in the second period.