To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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


TOKYO (OCTOBER 13) – Reigning world champ Stanka Zlateva (BUL) defeated newly crowned Chinese national champ Hong Nam (CHN) for her third straight title at 72kg at the women’s wrestling world championships.

Zlateva recorded a 2-1, 4-0 win at Yoyogi National Gymnasium to reclaim the women’s top heavyweight spot after her shock loss to China’s Wang Jiao in the gold medal final of the Beijing Olympic Games in August.

Hong, who turned 20 late last month, is a regular practice partner of Wang and won the national championship title in September to earn the trip to Tokyo.

In Tokyo, Hong effectively blocked Zlateva’s attacks early and appeared to win the first period 1-1 on the last point criteria. A video review, however, gave Zlateva a second point when it confirmed that Hong’s knee had touched the mat before time expired.

In the second period, Zlateva did not wait for time to run out in the stanza, striking with a double-leg midway through the period and then rolling Hong to her back for precious exposure points.

In the semifinals, Hong whipped Kyoko Hamaguchi (JPN) to her back in the first period and then scored a ankle-level tackle late in the second period to win 4-1, 1-1 over the five-time former world champion.

Zlateva, meanwhile, took the clinch in the first period and wrapped up the second period in regulation with a takedown and double-leg counter to advance to the final with a 1-0, 2-0 win over Alena Starodubsteva (RUS).

In the bronze medal matches, Hamaguchi had her hands full with upset-minded Burmaa Ochirbat (MGL), who was seeking to avenge a loss to the Japanese star in the Asian championships in March.

Burmaa took the first period 1-0 by blocking Hamaguchi’s single-leg attack and working her way behind for a point. Hamaguchi, however, answered back with a double-leg takedown in the second period, and capped a seesaw third with another double-leg at 1:32 for the win.

The bronze medal followed Hamaguchi’s bronze medal effort at the Beijing Olympics, and gets her back into the medals at the world championships after finishing in ninth place last year in Baku.

Hamaguchi has now won five gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the senior world championships and ties Shoko Yoshimura (JPN) as the most decorated female wrestler with nine medals overall. She also has two bronze medals from the Athens and Beijing Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, Ohenewa Akuffo (CAN) won the draw after the first and second periods and converted from the clinch for a 1-0, 1-0 victory over Starodubsteva in the other bronze medal final.

The bronze was Akuffo’s first medal in seven trips to the senior world championships, after finishing in fifth place in 2006.