To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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


TOKYO (October 2) - Reigning world and European champion Stanka Zlateva of Bulgaria arrived in Tokyo, aiming to win her third straight world crown at 72kg at the women’s wrestling world championships next week.

Zlateva and her coach, Simeon Shterev, arrived a week early to prepare for the meet to be held October 11-13 at Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo. They will train at the national training center, also in Tokyo.

Zlateva gained notoriety in Japan in 2006 when she won the world title over five-time world champ Kyoko Hamaguchi. The championship final included a controversial head butt by Zlateva that was not called, and later cost the officiating team their rankings. Shterev insisted, however, that the head butt was accidental and was just part of a hard-fought wrestling match. In 2007, Zlateva repeated as world champion, defeating Hamaguchi again along the way.

At the Beijing Olympics in August, however, Zlateva was pinned in the gold medal final by junior world champion Wang Jiao of China and had to settle for the silver medal.

The rest of the Bulgarian team will arrive on October 9, but Zlateva and her coach decided to travel to Japan a week early to better prepare for her bid for a third world title.