To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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


TOKYO (June 10) - World champions Hitomi Sakamoto and Ayako Shoda along with junior world champ Yoshiko Inoue nailed down berths on the Japanese women's squad for the Baku world championships in September. Sakamoto and Shoda were given a chance to qualify for the world team at 51 kg and 59 kg, respectively, after failed bids to win spots on the Japanese team at the Olympic weights of 55 kg and 63 kg in April.

Wrestle-offs for the women's squad were held on the final day of the men's national invitational meet at Yoyogi No. 2 Gymnasium in Tokyo. Sakamoto and Shoda will be seeking a ・three-peat・in Baku after winning world titles in Budapest in 2005 and Guangzhou, China last year.

Inoue, meanwhile, a freshman at Chukyo Women's University near Nagoya will be making her first trip to the senior world meet after defeating teammate Mami Shinkai in the 67-kg wrestle-off. Inoue won the national championships title in January, but lost in the semifinals of Queens Cup meet in April, eventually won by Shinkai.

51kg : Hitomi Sakamoto 59kg : Ayako Shoda 67kg : Yoshiko Inoue

Results of individual bouts:
51 kg
F1 - Hitomi Sakamoto df. Mizuho Shibata, 2-0 (1-0, 4-0)

59 kg
R1 - Mio Nishimaki df. Kei Yamana, 2-0 (2-0, 3-0)
F1 - Ayako Shodo df. Nishimaki, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)

67 kg
F1 - Yoshiko Inoue df. Mami Shinkai, 2-1 (0-4, 1-0=2:07, 1-0)