To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

By William May
iJapan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee


BAKU, Azerbaijan (September 17) - Makoto Sasamoto became Japanfs first medalist at a wrestling world championships in more than a decade when he took the silver medal at 60 kg on the first day of greco-roman competition.
The Japanese veteran racked up four convincing wins, including a tight 2-1 triumph over 2004 Olympic champion Jung Ji-Hyun (KOR) in the semifinals.
Sasamotofs quest to become Japanfs first wrestling world champion in 23 years, however, fell short when David Bedinadze of Georgia threw Sasamoto for three points late in the gold medal match.
Sasamoto held the tie-break advantage in the third period and only needed to avoid giving up any points in par terre over the final 30 seconds.
gIf I hadnft been turned there, Ifd have the gold medal now,h a dejected Sasamoto said after the bout. gItfs not like therefs a big difference in ability between us.h
Not to be lost in the disappointment, however, Sasamoto won his first medal at a world-level meet and, at the same time, qualified for his third Olympic Games.
The top eight finishers at each of wrestlingfs 14 Olympic events (seven in greco-roman and menfs freestyle, and four in womenfs freestyle) in Baku qualify for next yearfs Olympics in Beijing.
Before Sasamoto, Japanfs last medalist at a wrestling world championships was Hiroshi Kado (48 kg) who took home a silver medal from Prague in 1995.
Japanfs last wrestling world champion was Masaki Eto, who won the 57-kg gold medal in 1983.
Meanwhile, on the first day of action at Heydar Aliev Sports Complex, Masatoshi Toyota opened with a win at 55 kg but lost to Pan American champion Jagniel Hernandez of Cuba.
Masaki Imuro could not stop the reverse waistlock lifts of Armeniafs Arman Adikyan and tumbled out in the first round at 66 kg.

Results of bouts involving Japanese entries:
55 kg - TOYOTA, Masatoshi (16th, 41 entries)
QL - df. Pawel Kramarz (POL), 2-1 (5-2, 1-1x, 4-0)
Toyota scores with a bodylock takedown in the first period and a front headlock and turn in the third against the former No. 4 in Europe.

R1 - lost to Jagniel Hernandez (CUB), 1-2 (2-2x, 1x-1, 1-5)
Toyota gave up the last points on a gut wrench in the first period and was tripped up with an arm-trap and drop for three points by the Pan American champion in the third.

60 kg - SASAMOTO, Makoto (2nd, 41 entries)
R1 - df. Svajuna Adomaitis (LTU), 2-0 (4-0, 1x-1)
Sasamoto rolled up a first period on the mat and then was strong on defense for the last point in the second.

R2 - df. Yuriy Dubinin (BLR), 2-0 (5-0, 3-0)
Sasamoto continued to roll up points with the gut wrench and front headlock in a one-sided win.

QF - df. Laszlo Kliment (HUN) by fall, 2P=0:22 (1-2, 4-0)
Sasamoto drops the first period, but Kliment missed with a double-arm trap and drop in the second. Sasamoto pounced on top for the fall.

SF - df. Jung Ji-Hyun (KOR), 2-1 (1-2, 2-1, 1x-1)
Sasamoto slipped off a front headlock and lost the first period, but took the next two periods from the Athens Olympic champion with a stubborn defense.

F1 - lost to David Bedinadze (GEO), 1-2 (3-0, 1-1x, 0-4)
Sasamoto starts strong with a front headlock turn in the first period. After dropping the second, Sasamoto has the tiebreak advantage but leaves himself open on defense and gets hoisted over for three points.

66 kg - IMURO, Masaki (27th, 42 entries)
R1 - lost to Arman Adikyan (ARM), 0-2 (2-3, 0-5)
Imuro was thrown by the European No. 5 with reverse waistlocks for three points in the both periods.