To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

By William May
iJapan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee

July wrestling news


    TOKYO (July 11) - Mexico City Olympic gold medalist Masaaki Kaneko and six-time world champion Yayoi Urano will be among this yearfs inductees to the international wrestling Hall of Fame.

    Wrestlingfs world governing body FILA notified the Japan Wrestling Federation that Kaneko and Urano will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, located in the United States in Stillwater, Oklahoma. They are the fourth and fifth Japanese wrestlers to be inducted into the Hall.  Urano (currently, Odagaki) is the second woman to be honored.
   Kaneko was the featherweight (63 kg) freestyle world champion in 1966 and 1967 and then won the Olympic gold medal in Mexico City.

    Urano, meanwhile, was one of the pioneers of female wrestling in Japan and in the world, winning an unprecedented six world championship titles between 1990 and 1996 along with a runner-up performance in 1992.     Uranofs performance over the years (6 gold, 1 silver) is currently second only to Canadafs Christine Nordhagen (6-1-1), who last year became the first woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

    The international wrestling Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 2004 with Japanfs Yuji Takada among the first class of inductees. Takada was a five-time world champion as well as a gold medalist at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

    Japanfs lone two-time Olympic gold medalist Yojiro Obata (formerly, Uetake) was inducted two years ago, while 1956 Melbourne Olympic gold medalist Shozo Sasahara was in last yearfs class of inductees.

    Awards ceremonies for the inductees will be held in September at the
world championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.


    TBLISI, Georgia (July 14) - Makoto Sasamoto made a quick exit from the 66-kg competition at the Kartosia and Balavadzc tournament, after losing in the first round to local favorite Mukhran Machutadze.

    Sasamoto fell 1-2 in the first round to Machutadze, who finished in fifth place at the European championships in April, and did not advance to the consolation brackets. Sasamoto, who normally competes at 60 kg, has been hampered with some niggling injuries and was unable to make his normal weight.

    Meanwhile, Shingo Matsumoto, who is also training in Europe with Sasamoto, is bothered with a knee injury and sat out the competition at 84 kg.


    SAKURA, Chiba (July 7-8) - Kazuyuki Nagashima won at 74 kg in freestyle and was named the outstanding freestyle wrestler at the shakaijin national championships at Sakura municipal gymnasium.

    Also in freestyle, Kunihiko Obata, who failed to make the national team for the first time in six years, moved up to 84 kg and triumphed, sparking speculation that he may continue his career at the heavier weight.

    In the womenfs competition, Chikako Matsukawa won at 55 kg in her first year in the non-student open competition and was named the womenfs MVP.

    On the opening day, Yoshi Fujimura defeated Self Defense Forces teammate Noritomo Eto in the final at 74 kg and was named the outstanding greco-roman wrestler.

    Individual winners

55 kg - Toshiaki Kugo, Tokyo MPD club
60 kg - Kazunori Tani, Nichidai club
66 kg - Shinya Odate, Japan Self Defense Forces
74 kg - Kazuyuki Nagashima, Clean-up
84 kg - Kunihiko Obata, ALSOK Sogo Keibi
96 kg - Jun Aisawa, Toyo Suisan
120 kg - Koichiro Nishida, Fukui wrestling association

48 kg - Yuko Motohashi, S-Operation
51 kg - Makiko Sakamoto, Japan SDF
55 kg - Chikako Matsukawa, Japan Beverage
59 kg - Yu Sekine, Japan SDF
63 kg - Kayoko Kudo, Japan SDF
67 kg - no entries
72 kg - Asuka Sano, Japan SDF

55 kg - Kohei Hasegawa, Yaesu Fukuichi
60 kg - Yuki Takeda, Yamaguchi Wrestling Association
66 kg - Hiroshi Shimomura, Japan SDF
74 kg - Tsutomu Fujimura, Japan SDF
84 kg - Atsushi Kano, Kano Construction
96 kg - Ken Sogabe, Tokushima Wrestling Association
120 kg - Naoki Sawada, Tokuyama University staff


    MANILA (July 6-8) - Japanese wrestlers won five gold medals at the junior Asian wrestling championships in the Philippines.

    Japanfs junior women led the way with victories in three of the eight weight categories, equaling last yearfs gold medal haul. The Japanese men, meanwhile, took two gold medals in freestyle. Winning for the women were Waseda University first-year student Nodoka Nishi (48 kg), Mika Kunieda (55) of Doshisha University and Mizuka Kajita (59) of Chukyo Womenfs University.

    In freestyle, Yasuhiro Morita of Nippon Sports Science University and Teppei Monya of Nihon University led the charge for the Japanese men at 55 kg and 60 kg respectively. The victories gave Japan a freestyle champ for a third straight year after Shigeki Ozawa in 2005 and Nobuyoshi Arakida last year.

    Manabu Kamata of Chukyo Gakuin University added a silver at 74 kg and Fukuoka high school student Yo Morita secured a bronze medal at 50 kg as Japanese freestylers surpassed last yearfs performance of 1 gold, 1 silver
and 2 bronze.

    The Japanese were less successful in greco-roman as Masaharu Kaji (50) of Aoyama Gakuin University and Masaki Chikada (96) of Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto bagged a pair of bronze medals. Tsubasa Ogata (55, NSSU) and Ryuta Kono (120, AGU) had to settle for fifth place after losses in the consolation finals.


    TOKAMACHI, Niigata (July 21-28) - Members of the womenfs national made donations to help with the recovery of the area of Niigata hit by a strong earthquake on July 16.

    The womenfs training camps are held in Tokamachi about 40 kilometers from the city of Kashiwazaki, located near the epicenter of the temblor. g(Kashiwazaki) was heavily damaged and as the city next Tokamachi we cannot think of the people their as strangers,h said womenfs national team head coach Kazuhito Sakae.

    gWe do not want our athletes to think that the only thing is to become strong in wrestling. We want them to grow up to understand the difficulties of life and become people who can empathize with others,h said Sakae. The wrestlers and coaches reportedly collected about 100,000 yen in donations.

    About 35 wrestlers endured one week of especially hard training, known as the gTigerfs Den,h in preparation for the world championships coming up in September.


    TOKYO (July 28) - The Japan Wrestling Federation announced its team for the junior world championships to be held August 21-26 in Beijing, the host city of next yearfs Olympic Games. The JWF selections were mostly winners at the junior national championships in April.
   Japanfs entries at each weight:

50 kg - Masaharu Kaji, Aoyama Gakuin University
55 kg - Tatsuya Tomioka, Nippon Sports Science University
60 kg - Yuji Okamaoto, Takushoku University
66 kg - Kazuhiko Naruse, NSSU
74 kg - Hiroshi Uesako, Senshu University
84 kg - Masaaki Yano, Senshu
96 kg - Tsukiaki Nakatani, Senshu
120 kg - Shinichi Hirakasa, Senshu

50 kg - Kensuke Otani, Amino high school (Kyoto)
55 kg - Tsuyoshi Aoki, Kokushikan University
60 kg - Yoshisumu Yano, Ritsumeikan University
66 kg - Kazuki Morikawa, Yamanashi Gakuin University
74 kg - Sosuke Takaya, Amino
84 kg - Atsushi Matsumoto, NSSU
96 kg - Kengo Kamei, Nihon Bunri University
120 kg - no entry

44 kg - Yurie Sakamoto, Daito Bunka University
48 kg - Fuyuko Mimura, Amino
51 kg - Ai Shimizu, Saitama Sakae high school
55 kg - Yuka Watanabe, NSSU
59 kg - Akiko Shimizu, Japan Self Defense Forces
63 kg - Kayako Kudo, Japan SDF
67 kg - Emi Taira, International Pacific University
72 kg - Hiroe Suzuki, Ritsumeikan University


    TOKYO (July 30) - Norihiro Sakurai defeated the two previous championships and became gKing of the Beachh at Japanfs third beach wrestling national championships.

    Sakurai, wrestling unattached, defeated 2005 king Seiji Shinozaki in the semifinals and then upended defending champion Boris Mujikov in the heavyweight final. Junior national team member Atsushi Matsumoto won the middleweight crown while menfs invitational title winner at 60 kg Shigeki Ozawa won the lightweight championship.

    Meanwhile, Yuri Kai won the womenfs lightweight title and Erika Matsukawa took the middleweight championship.