To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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


BISHKEK (May 10) - Saori Yoshida ran her international winning streak to 107 and Kyoko Hamaguchi ended her run of international disappointments as both claimed gold medals at the Asian wrestling championships. Chiharu Icho and Kaori Icho, Japan's other two entries on the first day of the women's competition, did not wrestle because of injuries that had been nagging them since last month's Queens Cup tourney in Tokyo.

Although Japanese wrestling officials and fans were disappointed by the sudden withdrawal of the world champion Icho sisters, Yoshida and Hamaguchi gave the fans something to cheer about with three pins in the early rounds. Hamaguchi then capped the morning session with a 2-1 triumph over Olympic and Asian Games gold medalist Wang Xu of China in the semifinals at 72 kg.

Wang had defeated Hamaguchi in the semifinals at the 2004 Athens Olympics and again in the finals of last year's Asian Games in Doha. The two titans of female wrestling went to the clinch at the end of each of the three periods with Hamaguchi taking the final point from the defensive position.

・We really hadn't practiced anything in particular for the clinch,・Hamaguchi said, adding ・I was just doing things we normally do in practice.・ In the championship final, Hamaguchi won another nail-biter over 2006 Asian bronze medalist Olga Janibekova of Kazakhstan for her fifth overall continental crown.

As for Yoshida at 55 kg, female wrestling's irresistible force scored a pair of falls inside a minute in her first two matches and then looked disappointed when she could not do the same with China's Su Lihui in the championship final.

・I don't like it when I don't get the fall and I don's like it when I give up points,・Yoshida said after defeating China's Su Lihui, world silver medalist at 59 kg last year.

At 48 kg, Chiharu Icho failed to make weight after being plagued with lower back pains the past month. And at 63 kg, Kaori Icho weighed in, but defaulted her first bout because of a pulled hamstring in her left leg.

Results of individual bouts:

Women's freestyle
48 kg - ICHO, Chiharu (did not make weight)

55 kg - YOSHIDA, Saori (1st, 9 entries)
1R - bye
2R - df. Su Ying-tzu (TPE) by fall, 1P=0:57 (7-0)
Yoshida strikes with head-outside single leg attack and cranks her
opponent over wrist control and bar arm.

SF - df. Hong Hyang-Rae (KOR) by fall, 1P=0:24 (4-0)
Yoshida attacks with another single leg attack and flattens Hong with a half nelson and body press.

F1 - df. Su Lihui (CHN), 2-0 (5-0, 5-2)
Yoshida scores a near-fall in the first period off a double-leg attack. Su counters with a front headlock and spin under early in the second period, but comes back with a 3-point double-leg to sew up the win.

63 kg - ICHO, Kaori (dnp, 9 entries)
R1 - lost to Hou Min-wen (TPE) by injury default, 1P=0:00

72 kg - HAMAGUCHI, Kyoko (1st, 8 entries)
R1 - df. Mariya Orlova (UZB) by fall, 1P=2:00 (6-0)
Hamaguchi closes out the first period with a single-leg attack and arm bar to body press for the fall.

SF - df. Wang Xu (CHN), 2-1 (1-0=2:09, 0-1=2:06, 1-0=2:16)
Hamaguchi wins the toss and the clinch for the first period and Wang takes the second in similar fashion. Hamaguchi loses the toss after the third period, but drags Wang down to the mat and gets around behind for the win.

F1 - df. Olga Janibekova (KAZ), 2-1 (1x-1, 1-1x, 2-0)
Hamaguchi gives up an arm throw and one point in the first period, but snaps and spins behind at the whistle for the last point. In the second, Hamaguchi scores with duck-under, but is hit with fleeing the mat call three seconds from time. Hamaguchi scores with double-leg attack midway through the third period and then wraps up the win with an arm throw against the overly aggressive Janibekova.