To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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


JEJU, Korea (March 23) - Hideo Kitaoka grabbed a bronze medal at 60 kg on the final day of the Asian wrestling championships, but Japan was unable to gain a berth at 74 kg for the summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Kitaoka, heir apparent to the national team spot held by world silver medalist Makoto Sasamoto, fell in a second round match, but rebounded for a win over Nam Kyong-Jin of DPR Korea to claim Japan’s fourth bronze medal of the greco-roman competition.

Meanwhile, Yuki Iwasaki, seeking to qualify Japan for Beijing at 74 kg, lost his second-round match to Jung Tae-Kyun of Korea and did not have a chance at the consolation bracket after Jung lost in the semifinals.

Japanese wrestling officials now turn their attention to the two Olympic qualification tournaments in May for a chance to earn berths at 55, 66, 74 and 120 kg. The tournaments are set for Rome (May 9-11) and Novi Sad, Serbia (May 23-25).

At 96 kg, Kenzo Kato, who already holds a ticket for Beijing, pinned a former Asian silver medalist, but then lost in the semifinals and had to settle for fifth place with a loss in the bronze-medal match. In the competition for Olympic berths, Ruslan Tumenbaev of Kyrgyzstan, who defeated Kitaoka in the second round, won at 60 kg for the trip to Beijing.

China’s Chang Yongxiang won at 74 kg for the right to make the short trip to Beijing while Han Tae-Young won the wrestle-off of bronze medalists at 96 kg to book another place in the Olympics for Korea.

In the greco-roman team title race, Iran won with 55 points with Kazakhstan (50) and Japan (49) third. Japan had earlier won the men’s freestyle and women’s team titles and was aiming to make a clean sweep with the greco-roman crown.

Results of individual bouts involving Japanese entries:


60 kg - KITAOKA, Hideo (3rd, 12 entries)

R1 - bye

R2 - lost to Ruslan Tumenbaev (KGZ), 1-2 (1-1x=last point, 3-2, 0-2)
 No offensive points scored in the first and Tumenbaev takes the period as the last defender. Kitaoka lands on top of his opponent’s lift and throw and scratches out a win in the second. Again, Kitaoka cannot score on offense and gets pushed out of bounds with the advantage in par terre.

F3 - df. Nam Kyong-Jin (PRK), 2-0 (3-0, 3-0)
 Kitaoka defends in par terre and receives two points when his opponent hooks with his legs to prevent being thrown in the first period. In the second, Kitaoka again defends and then scores with a gut wrench to secure the bronze medal.

74 kg - IWASAKI, Yuki (did not place, 10 entries)

R1 - bye

R2 - lost to Jung Tae-Kyun (KOR), 0-2 (0-6=1:15, 0-3)
 Iwasaki is penalized for a false start in par terre (0-2), then is thrown over the top (0-5) and forced out of bounds (0-6) for a quick end to the first period. In the second, Iwasaki cannot score against the former 66-kg Asian champion in par terre, and is turned with a low-level reverse waistlock throw. Jung losses in the semifinals and Iwasaki is eliminated.

96 kg - KATO, Kenzo (5th, 10 entries)

R1 - bye

R2 - df. Chen Xiaofei (CHN) by fall, 1P=1:30 (2-0)
 Kato begins par terre on defense and blocks a front headlock and turn for the fall over the 2006 Asia silver medalist.

SF - lost to Margulan Assembekov (KAZ), 0-2 (1-1x=last point, 1-1x=last point)
 Neither wrestler can score offensively and Kato drops the first and second periods to the two-time Asia champion as the last wrestler on the attack in par terre.

F3 - lost to Abdumalik Aliev (UZB), 0-2 (0-3, 3-8)
 Kato cannot score on offense in par terre and is turned with a front headlock in the first period. In the second, Kato scores with his trademark headlock (3-0) and momentarily has a chance for the fall. Aliev, however, rolls through (3-2), then hits a pair of gut wrenches (3-4, 3-5). In par terre, Aliev continues with a front headlock and turn (3-7) and reverses from down in the final stanza (3-8).