To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world
By William May
（Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee
January wrestling news
VIEWERSHIP SCORES 8.9% FOR NAT’L C’SHIPS
TOKYO (January 29) - Nihon Television’s (NTV) broadcast of the 2006 national wrestling championships hit a high of 8.9% during spot checks on January 28, the final day of the all-Japan meet.
The afternoon broadcast of the final day’s bouts reached its high for the first-round victory of professional fighter Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto. Ratings dipped slightly to 8.6% for Yamamoto’s second-round loss to Athens Olympic bronze medalist Kenji Inoue and overall averaged 6.5% for the final day of the championships.
The showdown between two of the world’s top female wrestlers, Saori Yoshida and Hitomi Sakamoto, scored a 7.7% rating.
Average viewership for the championships was lower on the first two days with 3.5% on Friday, January 26, and 2.7% for Saturday’s matches which were aired from 0:50 to 2:20 the following morning.
Meanwhile, for the homepage of the Japan Wrestling Federation at total of 7,245 hits were recorded on the first day of competition, 11,155 the second day and 48,569 the final day. On January 29, the day after the competition, wrestling fans were still checking on the results of the championships with 14,066 hits.
The national championships, normally held in December, were delayed for a month because of the Asian Games staged in Doha earlier in the month.
FEMALE WORLD CHAMPS TO BE GIVEN NOD FOR ’08 OLYMPIC BERTH
TOKYO (January 28) - The Japan Wrestling Federation announced that female winners at the 2007 world championships in Azerbaijan will be given the unofficial nod for a berth on Japan’s 2008 Beijing Olympics squad.
Silver and bronze medalists at the September 17-23 world meet in Baku, however, will not automatically be given a Japanese Olympic team berth. JWF officials will look at the contents of the matches wrestled by the silver and bronze medalists and then make its decision about whether to unofficially name the wrestler to the Olympic squad.
Japanese wrestlers won gold medals at three of the four Olympic weight categories at the 2005 world championships in Guangzhou, China. Chiharu Icho (48 kg), Saori Yoshida (55 kg) and Kaori Icho (63 kg) took gold medals in Guangzhou. Only Kyoko Hamaguchi had to settle for a silver medal at 72 kg.
“We want to decide on a steady representative (for the Olympic team) and let them establish their goals as quickly as possible,” JWF president Tomiaki Fukuda said.
The Japanese female team for this year’s world championships will be decided at the Japan Queens Cup meet April 14.
If winners at the national championships repeat at the JQC meet, they will be named the world team member. If the JQC winner is different from the national champ, a special wrestle-off will be held for the world team berth.
The JWF earlier decided that medal winners in men’s freestyle and greco-roman at the 2007 world championships will be given the unofficial nod for the 2008 Olympic team.
TOP 8 AT NATIONALS GET CHANCE FOR MEIJI QUALIFIERS
TOKYO (January 25) - The Japan Wrestling Federation announced that the top eight finishers at the national championships will qualify for the Meiji Nyugyo Cup invitational meet in June. Hideaki Tomiyama, head of the JWF national team committee, told head coaches prior to the national meet that the JWF was expanding its list of Meiji Nyugyo Cup qualifiers from the national meet from four to eight.
“We wanted to give more wrestlers a chance,” Tomiyama explained of the meet that also serves as the national team qualifier for the world championships. A qualifying tourney in March for the Meiji Nyugyo Cup will bring the number of entries at each weight in the invitational to 16.
245 JOURNALISTS GIVEN PRESS CREDENTIALS FOR ALL-JAPAN
TOKYO (January 25) - An unprecedented 245 journalists from 94 organizations were given press credentials to cover the all-Japan wrestling national championships.
The number did not include the journalists and technicians with Nihon Television (NTV), which aired the three-day championships at Komazawa Gymnasium in Tokyo. The number easily surpassed the 165 journalists from 65 organizations that asked for press credentials to cover the 2004 Japan Queens Cup which served as the final women’s team selection meet prior to the Athens Olympics.
Because of the limited area at Komazawa Gymnasium, the Japan Wresting Federation asked television stations and university newspapers to reduce the number of writers and photographers they planned to send to the meet. A large number of journalists were seeking interviews with Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, who returned to the mats for the first time in over seven years in the middle of a successful mixed martial arts career.
JWF AFFILIATES NAME WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR
TOKYO (January 18) - Affiliate organizations of the Japan Wrestling Federation named their wrestlers of the year for 2006.
Award presentations were made January 28 on the final day of the 2006 all-Japan meet.
Winners by organization were:
Shakaijin - Seshito Shimizu, Clean-up wrestling club
University - Noriyuki Takatsuka, Nihon University
High School - Yuki Eita, Amino high school (Kyoto)
Junior High School - Kohei Kitamura, Kyoto
Schoolboy, Schoolgirl - Kazuma Ito, Osaka
Women - Saori Yoshida
Masters - Katsuyoshi Yonemori
19 COLLEGIANS TO DAVE SCHULTZ MEMORIAL IN U.S.
TOKYO (January 16) - The Japan Wrestling Federation will send 19 collegiate national champions and place-winners to the Dave Schultz memorial international wrestling tourney February 8-10 in Colorado Springs.
Wrestlers selected for the tourney are:
55 kg - Kazuhide Tomita, Daito Bunka
60 kg - Kenichi Yumoto, Nippon Sports Science University;
66 kg - Tsukasa Sato, Waseda; Futoshi Yokoyama, NSSU; Hisashi Aoyama, Toyo
74 kg - Goki Kudo, Nihon; Aoi Otsuka, Waseda
84 kg - Takao Isokawa, Takushoku; Naoki Monma, NSSU
96 kg - Shinji Azuma, Ritsumeikan
120 kg - Nobuyoshi Arakida, Senshu
55 kg - Kohei Hasegawa, Aoyama Gakuin; Ryo Minemura, Kanagawa
60 kg - Hideo Kitaoka, NSSU; Kenta Iwasaki, Senshu graduate
66 kg - Shinpei Fujiyama, NSSU; Fumiya Itakura, AGU
74 kg - Masanori Koeda, NSSU
96 kg - Masaaki Aso, Takushoku
120 kg - Iori Yasuda, Waseda
NSSU RESUMES ACTIVITIES AFTER PUNISHMENT
YOKOHAMA (January 1) - The Nippon Sports Science University wrestling team resumed training after a month-long ban on club activities imposed by the East Japan Collegiate Wrestling Association in November.
The ban was imposed after a first-year member of the wrestling club was caught in the dormitory of the women’s gymnastics team where he took some items of underwear. With the ban on activities lifted, Kenichi Yumoto and other members of the NSSU team entered in the all-Japan national championships resumed practice.