To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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


JEJU, Korea (March 20) ? Kyoko Hamaguchi
(right photo) rallied for three wins to take her third straight title in the Asian championships and secure a berth in this summer’s Beijing Olympic Games. Hamaguchi’s triumph, following a disastrous ninth place finish at last year’s world championships, completes Japan’s quartet of entries in female wrestling for the Beijing Games in August.

Hamaguchi, who took a bronze medal in Athens four years ago, joins defending Olympic and world champions Saori Yoshida (55 kg) and Kaori Icho (63) as well as Athens silver medalist Chiharu Icho (48) on the Japanese roster.

Meanwhile, Yoshida, the Icho sisters and Mami Shinkai (67) also bagged gold medals for Japan in the one-day Asian female wrestling competition. Also, Mizuho Kajita took a bronze medal at 59 kg, but Yuri Kai lost her opening match and did not get a chance to wrestle for the medals.

Japan won the team competition ahead of China and third-place Kazakhstan.

In the race for Olympic tickets, Enkhjargal Tsogtbazar of Mongolia defeated Neha of India in a battle of bronze medalists at 48 kg for one Beijing berth while China’s Xu Li defeated Chinese Taipei entry Su Ying-tzu in a similar wrestle-off at 55 kg for another.

At 63 kg, Mongolia’s Odonchimeg Badrakh advanced to the finals against Kaori Icho and grabbed the ticket for Beijing with a silver-medal performance.

Results of bouts involving Japanese entries:

Women’s freestyle

48 kg - ICHO, Chiharu (1st, 9 entries)

R1 ? df. Enkhjargal Tsogtbazar (MGL), 2-0 (1-0, 2-1)
 Icho scores a go-behind point to take the first period but needs a late snap down and spin behind to defeat the defending champion.

R2 ? df. Zhuldyz Eshimova-Turtbayeva (KAZ), 2-0 (3-0, 1x-1=last point)
 Icho takes the first period with a three-point double-leg takedown midway through the interval, but needs a late double-leg with five seconds remaining in the second to subdue last year’s Asia champion at 51 kg.

SF - df. Wu Li-chuan (TPE), 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)
 Icho wins first period with lone double-leg takedown, and the second on a force-out from behind and go-behind.

F1 - df. Ren Xuecheng (CHN), 2-0 (1-0=2:03, 1-0)
 In a rematch of the 2006 world championship final, Icho scores from the clinch in the first period and a go-behind in the second of a controlled strategic encounter.

51 kg - KAI, Yuri (did not place, 7 entries)

R1 - lost to Huang Wenjuan (CHN), 1-2 (0-1+2:05, 1-0=2:11, 1-4)
 Kai and Huang trade periods from the clinch, both with Kai on the defensive, but in the third, Huang counters Kai’s takedown attempt with a front headlock and nearside cradle.

55 kg - YOSHIDA, Saori (1st, 11 entries)

R1 - df. Alka Tomar (IND), 2-0 (1-0, 3-0)
 Yoshida has trouble penetrating the extreme defense of the 2006 world bronze medalist until snaring the right leg in the final 20 seconds of the first period. Yoshida works a front headlock for two points in the second and then adds a go-behind point.

R2 - df. Xu Li (CHN), 2-0 (3-1, 6-3)
 Yoshida breaks a 3-3 tie in the second period with three unanswered takedowns in a seesaw match.

SF - df. Otgonjargal Naidan (MGL) by fall, 2P=0:53 (1-0, 7-0)
 Yoshida gets her takedown motor running in the second period, then counters her opponent’s attack with a whipover for the fall.

F1 - df. Saltanat Abdrakhmanova (KAZ), 2-0 (1-0, 6-0=1:58)
 Yoshida takes the first period with a takedown in the final 15 seconds, but comes out in the second with all pistons firing, scoring takedowns at will and nearly missing with an arm bar for the fall.

59 kg - KAJITA, Mizuho (3rd, 7 entries)

R1 - df. Narangaraev Cjagnaadorj (MGL) by fall, 2P=1:28 (2-0, 6-3)
 Kajita rolls on top of her opponent’s hip throw and presses for the fall.

SF - lost to Li Songni (CHN) 1-2 (2-2x=last point, 1-0, 0-3)
 After trading periods, Kajita attempts a takedown in the final seconds of a scoreless third period and is thrown to her back by the junior world champion.

F3 - df. Jung Hae-Rim (KOR), 2-0 (2-0, 5-3)
 Kajita takes the first period with a pair of single-leg takedowns, but is thrown in the second and needs a late gut wrench to secure the bronze medal.

63 kg - ICHO, Kaori (1st, 8 entries)

R1 - df. Ge Zhen (CHN), 2-0 (4-0, 1-0)
 Icho opens with a double-leg for three points, then turns Ge with a leg grapevine but cannot get the fall. She scores a takedown early in the second period and runs the clock out.

SF - df. Elena Shalygina (KAZ) , 2-1 (2-0, 0-1=2:04, 2-0)
 In a repeat of last year’s world championship final, Icho takes the first period with an ankle pick and takedown counter, but drops the second from the clinch. In the third, Icho scores a quick go-behind point and then steps over an arm throw by the Russian-born 19-year-old late for the win.

F1 - df. Odonchimeg Badrakh (MGL), 2-0 (6-0=1:17, 1-0)
 Icho attacks with a single-leg, scores exposure points with a leg grapevine and then repeats a cross-ankle turn to end the first period. Icho gets behind with a duck under midway through the second and runs out the clock against last year’s Asia bronze-medal winner.

67 kg - SHINKAI, Mami (1st, 6 entries)

R1 - df. Suman Kundu (IND), 2-0 (1-0, 3-0)
 Shinkai scores with a double-leg takedown just before time to take the first period and the picks away with takedowns and a counter to win the second.

SF - df. Zhang Fengliu (CHN), 2-0 (2-1, 4-0)
 Shinkai gives up a takedown to the junior world silver medalist in the first minute, but storms back for two takedowns herself to win the first period. In the second, it was all Shinkai as she rolled into the finals.

F1 - df. Nasanburmaa Ochirbat (MGL) by fall, 1P=1:52 (6-0)
 Shinkai, herself the junior world champ in 2005, picked apart last year’s junior world bronze medalist in the first period before a lateral drop and body press for the fall and the gold medal.

72 kg - HAMAGUCHI, Kyoko (1st, 8 entries)

R1 - df. Xu Qing (CHN) by fall, 2P=0:50 (2-3, 3-0)
 Hamaguchi gets thrown her back from a front headlock in the first period. She avoids the fall, but losses the period to the Chinese newcomer. Hamaguchi wastes little time in the second, moving from a single-leg attack to head-and-arm control for the fall.

SF - df. Hwang Eun-Joo (KOR) by fall, 1P=0:16 (4-0)
 Hamaguchi throws her opponent to the mat just after the whistle and covers for the fall.

F1 - df. Burmaa Ochirbat (MGL), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
 In a battle of Athens Olympians, both aiming for a trip to Beijing, Hamaguchi scores with a single-leg in the first period. In the second, Hamaguchi hits another takedown for a point and then runs out the clock.