To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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


TOKYO (December 22) – Shingo Matsumoto
(photo) hung up his greco-roman shoes after the Beijing Olympics this past summer, but returned to the mats to win the freestyle title at 96kg on the second day of the All-Japan national wrestling championships. Matsumoto, relying on upper-body technique, came from behind in the quarterfinals to defeat pre-tourney favorite Takao Isokawa, and then cruised through the semifinals and final at Yoyogi National Gymnasium for his first national championship title in freestyle.

For Matsumoto, who won the collegiate freestyle crown in 1998, the title was his 10th straight at the all-Japan meet. The 30-year-old greco-roman veteran indicated after the competition, however, that he likely will not enter the national invitational meet and world team trials next June. Matsumoto, who now turns his attention to coaching, said he entered the all-Japan meet at freestyle for “the experience” since he will be teaching freestyle wrestlers, as well, at his alma mater of Nippon Sports Sciences University.

Also, in freestyle, world university champion Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu (66kg) won his first all-Japan title after two-time Olympian Kazuhiko Ikematsu lost to Kazuki Morikawa in the semifinals. Junior world bronze medalist Nobuyoshi Arakida won his first all-Japan crown at 120kg.

In greco-roman, defending champion Kohei Hasegawa squeezed out a narrow victory over rival Ryo Minemura at 55 kg, while collegiate champion Ryo Sato emerged victorious at 60kg after defeating this year’s national invitational winner Hideo Kitaoka in the semifinals.

Tsukasa Tsurumaki, who won the all-Japan crown in 2004 as a student at Kokushikan University, turned away four collegiate challengers to win his second national championship at 74kg.

In women’s freestyle, reigning world champion at 63kg Mio Nishimaki had little trouble winning her third straight all-Japan title. Nishimaki won the 59kg crown in 2006 and took the 67kg title last year.

Former judoka Asuka Sano won her first all-Japan title at 72kg, edging 67kg world silver medalist Mami Shinkai with a pair of late go-behind points.

Men’s freestyle

66 kg (14 entries)
F1 – Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu df. Kazuki Morikawa, 2-0 (1-0, 7-0=1:34)
SF – Morikawa df. Kazuhiko Ikematsu, 2-1 (1-3, 1-0, 3-0)
SF – Yonemitsu df. Takafumi Kojima by default

96 kg (13 entries)
F1 – Shingo Matsumoto df. Keiki Shimoyashiki by fall, 1P=0:26 (F3-0)
SF – Matsumoto df. Kenzo Sakamoto, 2-0 (5-2, 5-1)
SF - Shimoyashiki df. Kenji Fujimoto, 2-1 (1-1x, 2-0, 6-0=0:39)

120 kg (10 entries)
F1 – Nobuyoshi Arakida df. Masato Aisawa by default
SF - Arakida df. Tsutomu Takabayashi, 2-0 (2-0, 1-0)
SF – Aisawa df. Kenji Tanaka by fall, 1P=1:43 (F4-1)

Men’s greco-roman

55 kg (15 entries)
F1 – Kohei Hasegawa df. Ryo Minemura, 2-1 (1x-1, 1-1x,1x-1)
SF - Hasegawa df. Masaharu Kaji, 2-0 (6-0=0:54)
SF - Minemura df. Tsubasa Ogata, 2-0 (5-0,3-2)

60kg (14 entries)
F1 – Ryota Sato df. Yasuyukii Tanioka, 2-1 (2L-2, 0-3, 3-1)
SF – Sato df. Hideo Kitaoka, 2-0 (5-1, 3-0)
SF – Tanioka df. Yoshitaka Kido, 2-0 (9-3=1:11, 5-3)

74 kg (14 entries)
F1 – Tsukasa Tsurumaki df. Takehiro Kanakubo, 2-1 (3-3L, 3-0, 1x-1)
SF – Kanakubo df. Tomohiro Watanabe, 2-0 (3-0, 5-0)
SF - Tsurumaki df. Shuhei Kuraya, 2-1 (0-6=1:25, 3-0, 1x-1)

Women’s freestyle

63 kg (7 entries)
F1 – Mio Nishimaki df. Kayoko Kudo, 2-0 (6-0=2:00, 5-0)
SF - Nishimaki df. Akiko Maruyama by fall, 1P=0:33 (F6-0)
SF – Kudo df. Erina Takahashi, 2-0 (3-0, 4-0)

72 kg (4 entries)
F1 – Asuko Sano df. Mami Shinkai, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
SF - Shinkai df. Hiroe Suzuki, 2-1 (1-0, 0-1, 1-0)
SF - Sano df. Chiaki Machida by fall, 1P=0:47 (F4-0)