To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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


JEJU, Korea (March 22) - Former Asian Games champion Shingo Matsumoto regained the top spot at in greco-roman at 84 kg with a hard-fought triumph at the Asian championships and secured his place at this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing. Matsumoto defeated 2007 Asia bronze medalist Janarbek Kenjeev of Kyrgyzstan in the semifinals to ensure his return to the Olympic Games, and then shook off a shaky second period against Iran’s Taleb Nematpour for the gold medal.

Matsumoto was Asian Games champion in 2002 and took a seventh place at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Iran qualified for the Olympics with a bronze medal performance at the 2007 world championships last fall.

Meanwhile, Japan’s three other entries on the first day of greco-roman competition all finished with bronze medals, but failed to qualify for the Olympics. They will have two more chances to earn a trip to Beijing at the Olympic qualification tournaments in Rome and Novi Sad, Serbia in May.

In addition to Matsumoto, the Olympic berths went to Cha Kwang-Su of DPR Korea with a runner-up performance at 55 kg, to 74-kg winner Kim Min-Chul of Korea and 120-kg champion Masoud Hashem Zadeh of Iran.

Results of individual bouts involving Japanese entries:


55 kg - HASEGAWA, Kohei (3rd, 11 entries)

R1 - bye

R2 - df. Rajinder Singh (IND), 2-0 (3-0, 4-0)
 Hasegawa scores with a gut wrench and defends for an additional point in the first period. In the second, Hasegawa opens with a body tackle in the first minute, then adds a gut wrench and defensive point in par terre.

SF - lost to Hamid Soryan Reihanpour (IRI), 0-2 (1-7, 0-5=1:12)
 Hasegawa overwhelmed by the three-time world champion, who opens with a three-point throw from the front headlock. Reihanpour ends the bout with a five-point lift and throw in the second period.

F3 - df. Li Shujin (CHN), 2-0 (3-0, 3x-3=big point)
 In par terre, Hasegawa guards in the first 30 seconds and then scores with a gut wrench in the first period. Hasegawa gives up an early point in the second, but reverses in par terre and throws back for two points, which was the deciding criteria at the end of the period.

66 kg - IMURO, Masaki (3rd, 11 entries)

R1 - bye

R2 - df. Darkhan Bayakhmetov (KAZ), 2-1 (2-4, 1x-1=last point, 6-0=1:30)
 Imuro lifts and throws for two points from par terre, but loses a point on a lateral drop, gets penalized two points for false starting, and then gets turned. In the second, neither wrestler can score in par terre, allowing Imuro to draw even at a period apiece. In the third, Imuro opens with a body tackle and follows with a pair of gut wrenches on his way to technical superiority over the world No. 8 and holder of a ticket to Beijing.

SF - lost to Kim Min-Chul (KOR), 0-2, (2-3, 3-4)
 After a 2-2 exchange from Kim’s front headlock and turn in par terre, Imuro fails to score on offense and drops the first period. In the second, Imuro scores a point on defense in par terre, but a late scramble with the Asian Games champion capped by a gut wrench relegates Imuro to the bronze medal match.

F3 - df. Chao Yin-kung (TPE) by fall, 2P=0:52 (6-0=1:19, 4-0)
 Imuro gains the advantage with a takedown in the first minute and then launches the young Chao for five. In the second, Imuro executes and arm throw and covers for the fall and the bronze medal.

84 kg - MATSUMOTO, Shingo (1st, 10 entries)

R1 - df. Andrey Samokhin (KAZ), 2-0 (3-0, 3-2)
 Matsumoto turns Samokhin in par terre for two and then defends for one in the first period. In the second, Matsumoto lifts for three, but is penalized for two points on defense as the bout ends.

R2 - df. Lin Ming-hsuan (TPE), 2-0 (1x-1=last point, 6-0=1:39)
 Neither wrestler can score offensively in the opening stanza as Matsumoto takes the first period with the last defensive point. Matsumoto gets rolling with a body tackle on the feet, then lifts for three more in par terre. He switches in the final 30 seconds and presses for a nearfall and the win.

SF - df. Janarbek Kenjeev (KGZ), 2-0 (2-1, 3-0)
 Matsumoto scores a reversal and defensive point in the first 30 seconds of par terre, and then rides out the second 30 seconds. Scoreless on the feet, Matsumoto hits a low-level reverse waistlock and throw for two points and then protects for a third. The victory ensures Matsumoto a berth in the Beijing Olympics, since his finals opponent will be from Iran which was already qualified at last year’s world championships.

F1 - df. Taleb Nematpour (IRI), 2-1 (2-0, 0-6=1:39, 2-1)
 Scoreless in the first minute, Matsumoto gets a penalty point in par terre when Nematpour flees the mat and then protects on defense for a second point. The second period is abbreviated by Nematpour’s high, back-arching throw for five points. In the third period, Matsumoto is driven out of bounds (0-1), but guards tenaciously in par terre (1-1). The 2002 Asian Games champ gets a reverse waistlock in the final 30 seconds and, despite losing his balance, converts for a point (2-1) and the gold medal.

120 kg - SHINJO, Hirokazu (3rd, 8 entries)

R1 - df. Nurbek Ibragimov (KGZ), 2-1 (1x-1=last point, 0-2, 2-1)
 Shinjo takes first period as last defender in par terre. In the second, Shinjo gets turned and cannot answer on top. In the third,  Shinjo forces a penalty point on the former Asian Games bronze medalist, and then defends successfully in par terre for the win.

SF - lost to Georgi Tsurtsumia (KAZ) by technical fall, 0-2 (0-7=1:26, 0-7=1:22)
 Shinjo cannot stop the gut wrench of the Athens Olympic silver medalist and loses by technical fall.

F3 - df. Hong Hyun-Hee (KOR), 2-0 (1x-1=last point, 2-1)
 Shinjo takes first period as the last defender in a period lacking any offensive scoring. In the second, Shinjo receives a penalty point after a Hong head-butt, then gets the winning point by defending in the final par terre segment.