To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

By William May
iJapan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee


TOKYO (June 25-26) - Kenichi Yumoto won a special Olympic team wrestle-off at the Meiji Nyugyo Cup national invitational to secure his spot on the Japanese squad for the Beijing Games in August. Yumoto defeated national champion Noriyuki Takatsuka 1-0, 1-0 at Yoyogi Gymnasium for the freestyle berth at 60 kg, which Yumoto won for Japan in May.

Yumoto could have secured the berth outright with a championship title in the invitational, but lost his opening match as the title went to Takatsuka. In the wrestle-off, Yumoto won from the clinch in the first period and then spun behind for a late point in the second.

Yumotofs twin brother, Shinichi, also won his first title at 55 kg and was named the most outstanding wrestler of the tournament. Former national team member Kunihiko Obata won his first national title since moving up to 84 kg in freestyle and Kohei Hasegawa reprised his performance from the national championships in December to win the 55-kg crown in greco-roman. Obata and Hasegawa were named the outstanding wrestlers in their respective styles.
Results of the championship finals:
55 - Kohei Hasegawa df. Shingo Hirai, 2-1 (2-0, 1-1x, 2-0)
60 - Hideo Kitaoka df. Yasuyuki Tanioka, 2-1 (1-2, 3-1, 6-0=1:37)
66 - Hiroyuki Shimizu df. Yuji Okamoto, 2-1 (2-0, 1-2, 2-1)
74 - Naoto Kasai df. Yuichi Tanaka, 2-0 (3-1, 1x-1)
84 - Mitsuhiro Ota df. Mitsuru Yoshida, 2-0 (4-0, 7-0=1:27)
96 - Yuji Yamamoto df. Shoichi Kitazono, 2-0 (3-1, 4-0)
120 - Hirokazu Shinjo df. Atsushi Nakamura, 2-1 (1x-1, 0-3, 1x-1)

55 - Shinichi Yumoto df. Hideki Taoka, 2-1 (2-0, 0-1, 1-0=2:08)
60 - Noriyuki Takatsuka df. Hiroyuki Oda, 2-1 (0-2, 4-1, 3-0=2:02)
Olympic Wrestle-off - Kenichi Yumoto df. Noriyuki Takatsuka, 2-0 (1-0=2:02, 1-0)
66 - Takafumi Kojima df. Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu, 2-0 (2-0, 1-0)
74 - Hiroki Kayamori df. Sosuke Takatani, 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 1x-1)
84 - Kunihiko Obata df. Shinya Matsumoto, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
96 - Takao Isokawa df. Yoshitaka Shimoyashiki, 2-0 (5-0, 2-0)
120 - Nobuyoshi Arakida df. Norihiro Sakurai, 2-0 (2-0, 1-0)


TOKYO (June 26) - Ayako Shoda regained her spot on the womenfs national team at 59 kg in a special wrestle-off with reigning national champion Mizuho Kajita. Shoda made a bid for the Japanese Olympic team at 72 kg at the all-Japan national championships in December, but was defeated by Kyoko Hamaguchi while Kajita claimed the title at 59 kg.

In April, Shoda regained the 59-kg crown at the Japan Beverage Cup womenfs national championships, forcing a wrestle-off with Kajita for a position on the Japanese squad for the world championships in October. In the wrestle-off, Shoda won 4-0, 1-0. In October, the three-time world champion will be wrestling in her fourth straight and fifth overall world championship meet.


TOKYO (June 26) - A former Olympic team member and a one-time Asian Games bronze medalist were among five retiring veteran wrestlers honored by the Japan Wrestling Federation on the final day of Meiji Nyugyo Cup menfs national invitational tournament.

Tokyo police officer Masatoshi Toyota, Japanfs entry at 55 kg at the 2004 Athens Games, and fellow greco-roman veteran Masaki Imuro, a bronze medalist at the 2006 Asian Games, were honored along with freestyle world team members Yutaka Suzuki (84 kg), Kiyotaka Kodaira (96) and Akihito Tanaka (120).


DORTMUND, Germany (June 21-22) - Makoto Sasamoto defeated Athens Olympic silver medalist Roberto Monzon of Cuba to take the 60-kg crown in greco-roman at the German Grand Prix tournament, Japanfs final international test before the Olympic Games in August.

Sasamoto, runner-up at the 2007 world championships, edged the eight-time Pan American champion 2-1 in a hard-fought match-up dominated by defensive points. The only offensive points came on a gut wrench by Sasamoto near the end of the third period. Sasamotofs victory also paced Japanfs five other entries, including four wrestlers headed to Beijing, to medal-winning performances.

In greco-roman, Kenzo Kato won his first medal at an international competition with a bronze at 96 kg, while Shingo Matsumoto defeated 2005 world champion Alim Selimov of Belarus for a bronze medal at 84 kg.

In freestyle, Tomohiro Matsunaga (55) and Kazuhiko Ikematsu (66) both had to settle for silver medals as both were stymied offensively in their championship matches. Takayuki Suzuki, the squadfs lone non-Olympic entry, pulled down a bronze medal at 74 kg in his first international competition since moving up one weight class.
Results of bouts involving Japanese entries:
55 kg - MATSUNAGA, Tomohiro (2nd, 8 entries)
R1 - df. Marcin Pawlak (POL) by fall, 1P=1:55 (F4-0)
SF - df. Christoph Ewald (GER), 2-0 (7-0=1:45, 7-0=1:43)
F1 - lost to Bayaraa Naranbaatar (MGL), 0-2, 0-3, 0-1=2:06)

66 kg - IKEMATSU, Kazuhiko (2nd, 11 entries)
R1 - df. Rudiger Kabus (GER), 2-0 (6-0=1:52, 4-0)
R2 - df. Martin Buhz (GER), 2-1 (1-3, 6-0=1:53, 2-0)
SF - df. Buyanjav Bazorig (MGL), 2-1 (1-0=2:19, 1-4, 1-0=2:04)
F1 - lost to Paata Nozadze (RUS), 1-2 (1-3, 1-0, 0-4)

74 kg - SUZUKI, Takayuki (3rd, 9 entries)
R1 - bye
R2 - df. Ma Jijun (CHN), 2-0 (2x-2=last point, 2-0)
SF - lost to Krystian Brzozowski (POL), 0-2 (3-4, 1-3)
F3 - df. Steven Gottschling (GER), 2-0 (2-1, 4-0)

60 kg - SASAMOTO, Makoto (1st, 7 entries)
R1 - bye
SF - df. Edgar Barsegjan (POL), 2-1 (3-0, 1-2, 5-0)
F1 - df. Roberto Monzon (CUB), 2-1 (1-1x, 1x-1, 3-0)

84 kg - MATSUMOTO, Shingo (3rd, 15 entries)
R1 - df. Alo Toom (EST), 2-1 (4-1, 0-3, 2-0)
R2 - df. Attila Batky (SVK), 2-1 (1x-1, 1-1x, 3-2)
SF - lost to Andrey Baranovski (BLR), 0-2 (0-4, 0-4)
F3 - df. Alim Selimov (BLR), 2-0 (2-1, 1x-1)

96 kg - KATO, Kenzo (3rd, 8 entries)
R1 - lost to Vladzimir Berdzik (BLR), 0-2 (0-6=1:00, 4-6)
F3 - df. Andrzej Deberny (POL), 2-1 (2-1, 0-5, 1x-1)


TOKYO (June 29) - Tsukasa Tsurumaki took a third place at the Golden Grand Prix competition June 27 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Tsurumaki, who finished third in the Hungarian Grand Prix meet in March, lost in the semifinal to 2006 GGP champion Ilgar Abdulov of Azerbaijan, but rebounded for a win in the bronze medal match.

Results of individual bouts:
74 kg - TSURUMAKI, Tsukasa (3rd, 11 entries)
R1 - df. Samed Chopsiyev (AZE), 2-0 (2-1, 1x-1)
R2 - df. Rafiq Huseynov (AZE), 2-1 (1-1x, 4-2, 1x-1)
SF - lost to Ilgar Abdulov (AZE), 2-1 (1-1, 1-1, 0-5)
F3 - df. Ramazan Shahin (TUR) by fall, 1P (time not available)


TOKYO (June 24) - Athens Olympic gold medalist Karam Gaber and the Egyptian wrestling team along with squads from Tunisia and Denmark will train in Japan prior to the August 8-24 Beijing Games. Gaber, who won the gold medal in greco-roman at 96 kg, will lead an Egyptian squad that includes four greco-roman wrestlers along with two men and one woman in freestyle wrestling.

Meanwhile, 2006 world champion Mohamad Abdel Fatah, who did not qualify for the Beijing Games, will join the Egyptian delegation as a sports journalist -- his listed profession on the FILA Database website.

The Egyptian team is scheduled to arrive in Japan after July 10, practice at the Sugadaira highlands in Nagano from the 14th and then leave for Beijing around the 30th.
Two female wrestlers from Tunisia are scheduled to be in Japan until August 10 and then head for Beijing, while a Denmarkfs three greco-roman entries and one partner are scheduled to arrive in Japan on July 30 and leave for the Chinese capital on August 7.


TOKYO (June 4) - A Sunday morning talk show on the Nippon Television Network (NTV) outscored the normally dominant news program of the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) on June 1 with a discussion of Japanese female wrestling. Although aired at 7 a.m., the program hosted by popular Japanese comedian Joji Tokoro pulled down a 10.2% viewership rating with a discussion and analysis why Japanese female wrestling is so successful.

The program, which edged NHKfs news program by 0.1% in the viewership ratings, featured Japanese national team coach Kazuhito Sakae as well as Olympic and world champion Saori Yoshida. Television analysts said that the success of the program was a reflection of growing interest in Japanfs female wrestlers in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in August.

NTV has been a strong supporter of Japanese female wrestling in recent years and will broadcast the womenfs world championships in Tokyo in October.


TOKYO (June 12) - Japanese Olympic team members Kazuhiko Ikematsu and Tomohiro Matsunaga kicked off a pre-Olympic training tour in Europe with medal-winning performances at the Great Britain Cup wrestling tournament. Ikematsu posted three wins at 66 kg for the championship and was named the tournamentfs outstanding wrestler.

Matsunaga, meanwhile, was wrestling up a weight at 60 kg and had to settle for second place. Also, Takayuki Suzuki, getting used to his new weight category of 74 kg, advanced to the finals, but fell 1-1, 0-1 to Hungarian Olympic qualifier Gabor Hatos.


TOKYO (June 28) - Japan will send a squad comprising several collegiate champions from 2007 to the world university championships in Thessaloniki, Greece, July 9-13. The competition is held every two years and in 2006 Japanese wrestlers won a bronze medal in menfs freestyle, two bronze in greco-roman as well as two gold and three silver in the womenfs events.

The Japanese line-up for the championships:
Menfs freestyle
55 - Yasuhiro Inaba, Senshu graduate
60 - Shigeki Osawa, Yamanashi Gakuin
66 - Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu, Takushoku
74 - Aoi Otsuki, Waseda
84 - Naoki Monma, Nippon Sports Science
96 - Kenji Fujimoto, Takushoku
120 - Atsushi Nakamura, Takushoku graduate

55 - Ryo Minemura, Kanagawa graduate
60 - Kazuma Kuramoto, YGU
66 - Kohei Fujimoto, Takushoku graduate
74 - Yuichi Tanaka, NSSU graduate
84 - Yasuhiro Naguchi, NSSU
96 - Yuji Yamamoto, YGU
120 - Katsuya Kitamura, Senshu graduate

Womenfs freestyle
48 - Nami Uchida, Toyo
51 - Aki Fujimoto, Daito Bunka
55 - Yukiko Hirata, Hosei
59 - Eriko Nakata, Waseda
63 - Karina Takahashi, Waseda
67 - Chiaki Kajimoto, Kansai
72 - no entry