To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


    TOKYO (January 26) - Shingo Matsumoto(right photo) joined some elite company by winning his eighth straight greco-roman title on the opening day of the wrestling national championships. Matsumoto, 28, breezed through the field at 84 kg, defeating former collegiate teammate Mitsuhiro Ota 4-0, 7-0 in the final at Komazawa Gymnasium.

   The victory put Matsumoto into a second-place tie with Olympic champions Yuji Takada (1973-1980), Atsushi Miyahara (1981-1988) and Olympic bronze medalist Kosei Akaishi (1986-1993) for most consecutive championships in the all-Japan meet.

   Greco-roman ironman Yasutoshi Moriyama holds the Japanese record for consecutive national championships with 14 between 1982 and 1995. Asked about his streak, Matsumoto told reporters ・My goal is to win a world championship, so the meets here in Japan are markers I have to pass along the way to that goal.・

   ・Tomorrow I return to practice and will work on perfecting my lifts. This summer I plan to train abroad against the best wrestlers I can find and will for the top (in the world championships),・said Matsumoto, who finished ninth in last year's world meet in China.

   Championships in eight other divisions were also decided on the opening day of the three-day national meet. Freestyle heavyweight Akihito Tanaka won his sixth straight title at 120 kg while Kiyotaka Kodaira was his fourth straight and fifth overall championship at 96 kg.

   Kenzo Kato won for a second straight year and fourth time overall at 96 kg in greco-roman. Naoki Sawada won his first title in greco-roman at 120 kg and in freestyle Yutaka Suzuki defeated two former national champions at 84 kg for
his first national championship.

   In the women's competition, junior world champions Yoshiko Inoue and Mio Nishimaki
(left photo) each won their first all-Japan senior titles. Inoue defeated world bronze medalist Eri Sakamoto in the semifinals on her way to the title at 67 kg.

   Nishimaki, meanwhile, had an easy time at 59 kg with reigning world champion Ayako Shoda making her bid for an Olympic berth at 63 kg and the retirement of former world champion Seiko Yamamoto.

   At 51 kg, Ninako Hattori bagged her third national championship crown, her first in two years.

Results of championship final and semifinal bouts:

84 kg (12 entries)
F1 - Yutaka Suzuki df. Takao Isokawa by fall, 3P=1:50 (5-6, 3-2, Fall)
SF - Suzuki df. Shinya Matsumoto, 2-0 (1-0=2:21, 4-1)
SF - Isokawa df. Satoru Yamamoto, 2-0 (2-0, 3-1)

96 kg (12 entries)
F1 - Kiyotaka Kodaira df. Kenzo Sakamoto, 2-0 (1-0, 4-0)
SF - Kodaira df. Takayuki Miyaji by fall,1P=1:53 (5-0)
SF - Sakamoto df. Yoshitsugu Yoneyama, 2-1 (1-1x, 1-0, 3-0)

120 (9 entries)
F1 - Akihito Tanaka df. Nobuyoshi Arakida by fall, 2P=0:33 (3-0=2:03, 2-0)
SF - Tanaka df. Tomofumi Akiyama, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
SF - Arakida df. Norihiro Sakurai, 2-0 (4-0, 4-0)

84 kg (14 entries)
F1 - Shingo Matsumoto df. Mitsuhiro Ota, 2-0 (4-0, 7-0=1:26)
SF - Matsumoto df. Masaaki Yano by fall, 2P=1:34 (4-0, 4-0)
SF - Ota df. Tomoshi Yamamoto, 2-0 (7-0=0:36, 6-0=1:20)

96 kg (10 entries)
F1 - Kenzo Kato df. Ryuji Yamaguchi, 2-0 (6-0=1:15, 6-0=1:18)
SF - Kato df. Yuya Masaki by fall, 1P=1:17 (2-0)
SF - Yamaguchi df. Yusuke Yamamoto, 2-0 (1x-1, 2x-2)

120 kg (7 entries)
F1 - Naoki Sawada df. Hirokazu Shinjo, 2-1 (0-3, 1x-1, 1x-1)
SF - Sawada df. Atsushi Nakamura, 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)
SF - Shinjo df. Hirokazu Nagai by fall, 1P=1:57 (5-0)

51 kg (12 entries)
F1 - Ninako Hattori df. Yuri Kai (2-1 (0-3=2:02, 3-0=2:04, 1-0=2:22)
SF - Kai df. Mizuho Shibata, 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 2-0)
SF - Hattori df. Yukiko Suzuki, 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)

59 kg (8 entries)
F1 - Mio Nishimaki df. Kei Yamana, 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)
SF - Nishimaki df. Ayaka Sato, 2-0 (6-0=1:18, 3-0)
SF - Yamana df. Kayoko Shimada, 2-0 (1-0, 3-1)

67 kg (7 entries)
F1 - Yoshiko Inoue df. Mami Shinkai, 2-0 (3-0=2:03, 3-0)
SF - Inoue df. Eri Sakamoto, 2-0 (1-0=2:04, 1-0)
SF - Shinkai df. Hiroe Suzuki, 2-1 (1-0, 0-1=2:03, 4-0)