To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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


TOKYO (December 23) – Olympic gold medalist Saori Yoshida won her seventh straight title at the All-Japan national wrestling championships and received the Emperor’s Cup as the outstanding wrestler of the three-day competition
(photo). With her triumph, Yoshida moved into a tie for second place for most all-Japan titles in female wrestling behind the 12 won by Kyoko Hamaguchi. Ryoko Sakamoto and international wrestling Hall of Fame member Yayoi Urano have also won seven all-Japan crowns.

Yoshida, 26, who won her second Olympic gold medal and sixth world championship title this year, also received the Emperor’s Cup for a second time. She was awarded her first in 2004. “This year I won the Olympics and soon after that the world championships, but I think it is because I started the year off with a loss,” Yoshida said, referring to her loss at the World Cup meet in January that ended her 119-match winning streak.

“This year I think I’ve become stronger mentally. (The loss) forced me to study,” said Yoshida. “There were things I became aware of when I lost that I wasn’t aware of when I was winning.”

“I don’t know if I’ll reach 119 again, but I hope to win all my matches in 2009 and beyond,” added Yoshida, who has set her sights on a third gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Also on the final day of competition at Yoyogi National Gymnasium, world bronze medalist Makiko Sakamoto flattened junior world champ Fuyuko Mimura in the 48kg final for her third all-Japan title and first in four years.

In men’s freestyle, Shinichi Yumoto, twin brother of Olympic bronze medalist Kenichi Yumoto, edged world university champion Yasuhiro Inaba at 55kg for his first all-Japan title. At 60kg, collegiate champ Shogo Maeda, who spent his junior high school and high school years training with Saori Yoshida at Chukyo Women’s University, outlasted 2006 world bronze medalist Noriyuki Takatsuka in the quarterfinals and went on to claim his first senior national crown.

In greco-roman, Tsutomu Fujimura pinned his teammate from the Japan Self-Defense Forces club, Hiroyuki Shimizu, for his first all-Japan title at 66kg. World silver medalist at 60kg Makoto Sasamoto, who was expected to challenge at 66kg, fell in three periods in the quarterfinals.

Men’s freestyle

55 kg (16 entries)
F1 – Shinichi Yumoto df. Yasuhiro Inaba, 2-1 (0-2, 7-0=0:47, 1-0=2:03)
SF – Yumoto df. Yasuhiro Morita by fall, 1P=1:15 (F4-0)
SF – Inaba df. Seshito Shimizu by fall, 1P=1:51 (F3-0)

60 kg (15 entries)
F1 – Shogo Maeda df. Shinya Odate, 2-0 (2-0, 3-1)
SF – Maeda df. Yuta Uchimura, 2-0 (3-0, 6-0=1:13)
SF – Odate df. Ken Kikuchi, 2-0 (2-0, 3-0)


66 kg (15 entries)

F1 – Tsutomu Fujimura df. Hiroyuki Shimizu by fall, 1P=1:26 (F4-0)
SF – Shimizu df. Noritomo Eto, 2-0 (2-1, 4-1)
SF – Fujimura df. Yuji Okamoto, 2-0 (8-2=1:30, 2-0)

Women’s freestyle

48 kg (18 entries)
F1 – Makiko Sakamoto df. Fuyuko Mimura by fall, 1P=0:44 (F5-0)
SF – Sakamoto df. Miki Akeo, 2-1 (3-0, 0-3=2:03, 1-0)
SF – Mimura df. Chinami Abe by fall, 1P=1:30 (F3-0)

55 kg (13 entries)
F1 – Saori Yoshida df. Chikako Matsukawa by fall, 1P=0:56 (F5-0)
SF – Yoshida df. Ayaka Kurumaya by fall, 2P=0:34 (6-0=0:43, F4-0)
SF – Matsukawa df. Chiho Hamada, 2-0 (8-0, 4-2)