To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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

April Wrestling News


TOKYO (April 21) - Defending world champions Hitomi Sakamoto and Ayako Shoda will get a second shot at the 2007 Japanese world team during the menfs world team trials meet June 10.

Sakamoto and Shoda both failed in bids to secure berths on Japanfs national team at 55 kg and 63 kg, respectively, finishing third and second at the Japan Beverage Queens Cup competition on April 14.@Sakamoto and Shoda had been hoping a national team berth this year and a medal at the world championships in September would earn them a spot in next yearfs Olympics in Beijing.

Sakamoto, however, finished third at 55 kg while Shoda lost to reigning world champion Kaori Icho in the 63-kg final.@ Before the Queens Cup meet, the Japan Wrestling Federation said that it would give Sakamoto and Shoda a chance to join the world team at 51 kg and 59 kg in order to defend their world championship titles.

The special wrestle-offs will be held June 10 on the final day of the menfs Meiji Nyugyo Cup invitational tourney. In the womenfs wrestle-offs, the national champions at 51 kg and 59 kg will face the Queens Cup winners in the first round. The victors in those matches will then face Sakamoto and Shoda for the national team berth.


TOKYO (April 17) - The Japan Wrestling Federation has announced its line-up for the Asian Wrestling Championships in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, May 8-13. Menfs freestyle is scheduled for May 8-9 while the greco-roman competition is set for May 12-13. The womenfs wrestling event is set for May 10-11.

55 kg - Masashi Saito, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Dept.
60 kg - Shinya Odate, Japan Self-Defense Forces
66 kg - Kazuhiko Ikematsu, K-Powers club
74 kg - Kazuyuki Nagashima, Clean-up club
84 kg - Shinya Matsumoto, Tokyo MPD
96 kg - Yoshitsugu Yoneyama, K-Powers
120 kg - Akihito Tanaka, FEG club

55 kg - Ryo Minemura, Kanagawa Univ.
60 kg - Ryutaro Matsumoto, Nippon Sports Science Univ.
66 kg - Hiroyuki Shimizu, Japan SDF
74 kg - Shuhei Kuraya, NSSU
84 kg - Mitsuhiro Ota, Oita
96 kg - Kenzo Kato, Japan SDF
120 kg - Hirokazu Shinjo, Japan SDF


TOKYO (April 18) - Japanfs four medal winners in womenfs wrestling at the 2004 Athens Olympics will lead the Japanese squad into the Asian wrestling championships in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Olympic champions Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho, along with silver medalist Chiharu Icho and bronze medal winner Kyoko Hamaguchi headline the squad for the May 8-13 continental meet.

The four Olympians prevailed at the Japan Beverage Queens Cup on April 14 to qualify for Japanfs 2007 world team and appear to be headed to another Olympic Games next year in Beijing.

Japanfs squad at the Asian championships:
48 kg - Chiharu Icho, Sogo Keibi club
51 kg - Mizuho Shibata, Chukyo Womenfs University
55 kg - Saori Yoshida, Sogo Keibi
59 kg - Kei Yamana, CWU
63 kg - Kaori Icho, Sogo Keibi
67 kg - Mami Shinkai, CWU
72 kg - Kyoko Hamaguchi, Japan Beverage club


TOKYO (APRIL 3) - Hiroshi Kado resigned as greco-roman national team coach to take the position of head coach of the womenfs wrestling club at the newly opened International Pacific University.

Kado assumed his position as head coach with the beginning of the new academic year on April 1. The university hopes to attract some of Japanfs top athletes to its campus located in the city of Okayama about 180 km (112 miles) west of Osaka.

Tomiaki Fukuda, president of the Japan Wrestling Federation, is head of the schoolfs athletic department. Kado will continue to work with the Japanese menfs greco-roman team until next yearfs Beijing Olympic Games. His resignation leaves the JWF with two full-time national team coaches, Takahiro Wada for menfs freestyle and Shigeo Kinase for the women.


TOKYO (April 17) - Nihon Televisionfs live broadcast of the Japan Beverage Queens Cup scored an average viewership rating of 3.9% on April 14. Since the competition was aired in the late afternoon on spring Saturday blessed with beautiful weather, network officials realized that it would be difficult to attract many viewers.

The rating did not reach the 6.5% of the final day of the national championships in January, but it did surpass the 3.5% rating registered on the first day of the nationals.

The highest viewership rating thus far recorded for a womenfs wrestling event in Japan was an 8.8% during the World Cup meet in Tokyo in October 2004.


YOKOHAMA (April 21-22) - Nobuyoshi Arakida of Senshu University won his third straight junior national title and was named the menfs most outstanding wrestler of the junior-cadet national championships. Arakida was awarded the JOC Cup for his triumph at 120 kg in freestyle at Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium.

Meanwhile, Kyoto high school star Sosuke Takaya defeated six collegiate wrestlers on his way to the 74-kg crown. Takaya of Amino high school successfully defended his high school invitational title in March. In greco-roman, Masaharu Kaji, just into his first year at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, repeated as champion at 50 kg.

In the female competition, junior world bronze medalist Fuyuko Mimura of Kyotofs Amino high school won at 48 kg in the junior division for her fourth straight JOC Cup title and was selected the meetfs most outstanding female.

Mimurafs Amino teammate Yu Horiuchi won at 49 kg for her fourth straight cadet division crown -- each at a different weight category.

Menfs freestyle
50 kg - Kensuke Otani, Amino high school (Kyoto)
55 kg - Tsuyoshi Aoki, Kokushikan Univ.
60 kg - Yoshisumu Yano, Ritsumeikan Univ.
66 kg - Kazuki Morikawa, Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.
74 kg - Sosuke Takaya, Amino
84 kg - Atsushi Matsumoto, Nippon Sports Science Univ.
96 kg - Kengo Kamei, Nihon Bunri Univ.
120 kg - Nobuyoshi Arakida, Senshu Univ.

Menfs greco-roman
50 kg - Masaharu Kaji, Aoyama Gakuin Univ.
55 kg - Tatsuya Tomioka, NSSU
60 kg - Yuji Okamoto, Takushoku Univ.
66 kg - Kazuhiko Naruse, NSSU
74 kg - Tomohiro Inoue, NSSU
84 kg - Masaaki Yano, Senshu
96 kg -Tsyukiaki Nakatani, Senshu
120 kg - Shinichi Hirakawa, Senshu

Womenfs freestyle
44 kg - Yurie Sakamoto, Daito Bunka Univ.
48 kg - Fuyuko Mimura, Amino high school (Kyoto)
51 kg - Ai Shimizu, Saitama Sakae high school
55 kg - Yuka Watanabe, Nippon Sports Science Univ.
59 kg - Akiko Shimizu, Japan Self-Defense Forces
63 kg - Kayoko Kudo, Japan SDF
67 kg - Emi Taira, International Pacific Univ.
72 kg - Hiroe Suzuki, Ritsumeikan Univ.


TOKYO (April 28) - Montreal Olympic gold medalist Yuji Takada was awarded the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon by the Japanese government for his contribution to the encouragement of sport in Japan.

Takada, currently the chairman of the board of directors for the Japan Wrestling Federation, was joined by 1984 Olympic judo champion Yasuhiro Yamashita as this springfs recipients of the award. The Medals of Honor, awarded in the spring and fall of each year, recognize the achievements and contributions of people in different aspects of life.