To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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

February wrestling news


 ATHENS (February 24-25) - Ryo Minemura defeated 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Artiom Kiouregian of Greece and went on to claim the gold medal at the Acropolis International greco-roman wrestling tournament.
Minemura of Kanagawa University defeated Kiouregian 1-1, 3-0 in the quarterfinals at 55 kg and then came from behind to defeat a highly touted young Russian wrestler, Maksim Tokareb, 0-3, 1-1, 1-1 in the semifinals.

 Minemura claimed the championship with a 1-1, 3-0 win over Czech veteran Jan Hocko. Meanwhile, the other members of the Japanese squad lost opening round matches and failed to place. Ryutaro Matsumoto lost his first round match at 60 kg to Hritos Gikas of Greece 0-2, while Hiroyuki Shimizu came out on the short end of 1-2 decision to Lucjan Kwit of Poland at 66 kg.

 The Japanese greco-roman squad continues their European tour with a training camp in Hungary followed by the Hungarian Open in Szombathely,March 10-11.


 TOKYO (February 21) - Three-time defending champion Japan will send not send its Dream Team to the World Cup of women's wrestling in March in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. The Japan Wrestling Federation announced that the team for the March 22-23 meet, however, will include the three national champions at the non-Olympic weight categories.

 Dream Team members, such as Hitomi Sakamoto, Saori Yoshida and the Icho sisters, Chiharu and Kaori, are vying for positions on the 2008 Olympic team and are focusing on the Japan Queens Cup meet later in the spring.

 The Japan Queens Cup will serve as the 2007 world team qualifier for the Japanese women. Winning a berth to the world team could be key to a berth on Japan's 2008 Olympic squad since the JWF has decided that a world championship title will secure the winner a ticket to Beijing. Japan has sent its best members to the World Cup since the women's event was inaugurated in 2001.

The Japanese line-up this year will be:
48 kg - Yuri Kai, Chukyo Women's University
51 kg - Ninako Hattori, CWU graduate school
55 kg - Chikako Matsukawa, Nihon University
59 kg - Mio Nishimaki, CWU
63 kg - Kei Yamana, CWU
67 kg - Shoko Inoue, Shigakukan high school
72 kg - Mami Shinkai, CWU


 COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (February 12) - Hidekazu Tomita of Daito Bunka University led Japan's collegiate select team with a bronze medal at the Dave Schultz Memorial international wrestling tournament.

 Tomita posted three wins at 55 kg in freestyle before suffering a loss in the semifinals to Asset Serikbayev of Kazakhstan. Tomita rebounded with a pair of wins in the consolation bracket, including a victory by fall over American Matt Azevedo for the bronze medal.

 Meanwhile, in greco-roman Hideo Kitaoka of the Nippon Sports Science University put together four wins in repechage after an opening round loss to world champion Joe Warren of the United States. Kitaoka's fifth match, however, was against two-time Olympic champion Armen Nazarian of Bulgaria as the NSSU wrestler was forced to settle for fifth place after an 0-2 loss.

 Waseda's Iori Yasuda also grabbed a fifth place out of 13 wrestlers at 120 kg with a pair of wins before a pair of losses. On the opening day of competition, Fumiya Itakura of Aoyama Gakuin defeated reigning greco-roman world champion at 66 kg Li Yanyan of China 2-2, 0-6, 3-1 in a repechage bout, but lost the next match and failed to place.

In other results:

55 kg - Hidekazu Tomita (DBU), 5 wins, 1 loss (3rd, 22 entries)
60 kg - Kenichi Yumoto (NSSU), 2-2 (did not place, 27 entries)
66 kg - Tsukasa Sato (Wa), 2-2 (dnp, 31)
66 kg - Futoshi Yokoyama (NSSU), 2-2 (dnp, 31)
66 kg - Hisashi Aoyama (Toyo), 0-2 (dnp, 31)
74 kg - Goki Kudo (Nihon), 0-2 (dnp, 25)
74 kg - Aoi Otsuka (Wa), 3-2 (dnp, 25)
84 kg - Takao Isokawa (Takushoku), 1-2 (dnp, 28)
84 kg - Naoki Monma (NSSU), 1-2 (dnp, 28)
96 kg - Seiji Azuma (Ritsumeikan), 0-2 (dnp, 16)
120 kg - Nobuyoshi Arakida (Senshu), 0-2 (dnp, 18)

55 kg - Kohei Hasegawa (AGU), 0-2 (dnp, 14)
55 kg - Ryo Minemura (Kanagawa), 1-2 (dnp, 14)
60 kg - Hideo Kitaoka (NSSU), 4-2 (5th, 20)
60 kg - Kenta Iwasaki (All-Honda), 2-2 (dnp, 20)
66 kg - Shinpei Fujiyama (NSSU), 0-2 (dnp, 25)
66 kg - Fumiya Itakura (AGU), 4-2 (dnp, 25)
74 kg - Masanori Koide (NSSU), 2-2 (dnp, 29)
96 kg - Masaaki Aso (Taku), 1-2 (dnp, 11)
120 kg - Iori Yasuda (Wa), 2-2 (5th, 13)


 TOKYO (February 10) - Qualification for the men痴 national invitational meet and world team trials will be held March 25 at the Japan Institute of Sports Sciences in Tokyo.

 The top eight wrestlers in each style and weight category will qualify for the invitational scheduled for June 9-10 at Yoyogi Gymnasium in Tokyo. Eight wrestlers at each style and weight earned berths in the trials earlier at the national championships in January.


 ASHIKAGA, Tochigi (February 3-4) - Kasumigaru high school of Ibaraki Prefecture won its 17th straight and 23rd overall title in the Shoda Cup Kanto high school invitational tournament.

 Kasumigaura defeated Hanabuki Tokuei high school of Saitama Prefecture in the championship final at Ashikaga Municipal Gymnasium. Kasumigaura wrestlers also won five of the eight individual championships on offer.


 GOJOME, Akita (February 10-11) - Defending champion Akita Shogyo high school shut out Aomori rival Kosei Gakuin 7-0 to repeat as Tohoku regional high school invitational champion.

 It was Akita Shogyo痴 seventh overall title in the regional meet. Akita Shogyo wrestlers, however, were only able to capture two titles in the individual championships.