To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

By William May
iJapan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee

January wrestling news


NAGOYA (January 25) - Saori Yoshida, who had her winning streak of 119 snapped at the World Cup meet in China, returned to practice at the Chukyo Womenfs University. gI received support and encouragement from a lot of people (this past week). I want to think of this loss as a loss that will get me the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics,h Yoshida told reporters at the CWU wrestling dojo.

After returning to Japan, Yoshidafs father, Eikatsu, ordered her home where she could play with the children at his wrestling school, do some training and get back in touch with roots. gI was thinking that I must be a model (to these kids). Itfs no good if I just mope around after just one loss,h Yoshida said.

After the loss, Yoshida has been surrounded by the kind words of friends and rivals alike. The first voice she heard after her stunning defeat was from rival Hiromi Sakamoto. gIf you win the gold medal in Beijing, (this loss) is okay, isnft it?h Sakamoto told Yoshida at the gymnasium in Taiyuan, China where the World Cup was being held. Sakamoto, the reigning world champion at 51 kg, attempted to unseat Yoshida at 55 kg in Japan with the hopes of getting a chance to wrestle in the Olympics, but came up short.

Seiko Yamamoto, Yoshidafs rival before the Athens Olympics, also sent an email of support to Yoshida after the Japanese team returned from the World Cup. In fact, letters and emails poured in to Yoshida, her employer and CWU. gI never knew that I had so many supporters. I have to do even better now,h Yoshida explained.

As for the counters that led to Yoshidafs 1-4, 2-2 loss to American Marcie Van Dusen, Yoshida said gDuring the match, I was not happy (with the decision), but right now, thatfs the end of it.h
gI think other opponents now are going to try counter-wrestling against me. The rules seem to favor this kind of counter-wrestling, so I will have to attack with takedowns that canft be countered.h At the CWU dojo, Yoshidafs father remarked gA winning streak will be stopped some time. Just look at (Alexander) Karelin.h gAfter about 60 wins in a row, I told (Saori) that itfs important just to focus at one match at a time. But now that she has lost, I told her that therefs no reason to mope about it.h

At the entrance of the CWU dojo, head coach Kazuhito Sakae posted the front page of the Sports Hochi newspaper which made news of Yoshidafs loss the top story. gI donft want her to forget the pain of losing,h Sakae said.

But, Yoshida herself hung the bronze medal from the World Cup in her room, so she will see it every day. As the practice session got under way, Yoshida got to work quickly correcting her body position on her attacks in order to prevent being countered in the future.


TOKYO (January 28) - The Japan Wrestling Federation homepage, with the cooperation of Nihon Television, has posted video highlights of the 2008 World Cup of womenfs wrestling, including Saori Yoshidafs first loss in 115 international matches.
The video can be found at

Or, interested wrestling fans can go to the JWF website at and then click on VTR on the front page, and then the top photo on the video menu.


TOKYO (January 24) - Japan will send a squad of collegiate all-stars to compete in the Dave Schultz Memorial international wrestling tournament February 7-11 in Colorado Springs.

The squad will include a number of collegiate national champions from last year, some wrestlers recommended by the Japan Wrestling Federation and a handful of wrestlers who will be paying their own way. The Japanese team, led by Minami Kyushu University head coach Morimasa Nishimura, will leave February 5 and return February 13.

The roster of the Japanese squad include:

55 kg - Yasuhiro Inaba (Senshu), Yohei Fujimoto (Waseda), Yasuhiro Morita (Nippon Sports Science University)
60 kg - Teppei Monya (Nihon), Kaoru Anzawa (Wa)
66 kg - Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu (Takushoku)
74 kg - Aoi Otsuki (Wa)
84 kg - Junki Monma (NSSU)
96 kg - Kenji Fujimoto (Taku)
120 kg - Atsushi Nakamura (Taku)

55 kg - Ryo Minemura (Kanagawa)
60 kg - Kazuma Kuramoto (Yamanashi Gakuin), Yuji Okamoto (Taku)
66 kg - Kohei Fujimoto (Taku)
74 kg - Soichi Tanaka (NSSU), Keita Ito (Taku)
84 kg - Yuko Kuniguchi (NSSU)
96 kg - Katsuya Kitamura (Sen)
120 kg - Ryuta Kawano (Aoyama Gakuin)


TOKYO (January 20) - More than 100 wrestlers took part in the 7th All-Japan Masters Wrestling Championships at the Olympic Memorial Youth Center in Tokyo.

The highlight of the competition came in the Division E final (older than 65 years old in which former Nihon University star Noboru Takahashi (68 years old) edged Katsuyohi Yonemori, the tourneyfs most senior grappler at 82. Takahashi slipped out of a third-period clinch to defeat the octogenarian, an alum of Chuo University, 2-1 for the 60 kg title.

In Division C for wrestlers 51-60, 1981 world champion and Kokushikan University head coach Toshio Asakura won the 60 kg crown.


TOKYO (January 16) - Japan will send a squad of Olympic greco-roman hopefuls to train in Hungary the second half of February with a handful of wrestlers set to compete in the March 1-2 Golden Grand Prix meet in Szombathely, Hungary. World silver medalist Makoto Sasamoto (60 kg) and Olympic qualifier Kenzo Kato (96) will lead the Japanese squad which departs February 17.

Other members of the squad will be Kohei Hasegawa (55), Yuki Iwasaki (74), Shingo Matsumoto (84), who will stay in Hungary until February 28. Along with Sasamoto and Kato, Tsutomu Fujimura (66) and Tsukasa Tsurimaki (74) will stay until March 4 to take part in the grand prix competition.

Since the grand prix is being held after the greco-roman World Cup meet in Szombathely, it is expected to include some of the worldfs top wrestlers from Russia, Romania, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

Hiromichi Ito and Hiroshi Kado will serve as coaches to the Japanese squad. gA number of our wrestlers lack experience against foreign wrestlers. For the wrestlers hoping to go to the Olympics, we hope to make them stronger by training with foreign wrestlers,h Ito said.


TOKYO (January 15) - The Japanese menfs freestyle and greco-roman teams held their first training camp of the year in preparation for the Asian championships in Korea in mid-March.

The camp, held at the Japan Sports Science Center in Tokyo, included the top two wrestlers at each weight class, who are seeking a chance to qualify Japan at their weight for the Olympics and take the inside track to Beijing.

The first chance will come at the Asian championships in March when the top wrestler at each weight not yet qualified for the Olympics will earn the ticket to Beijing. The national team committee of the Japan Wrestling Federation will name its squad for the championships based on the results of wrestling and training the committee members and coaches see in the camps.

The freestyle training camps will be held February 7-13, February 21-28, and March 5-11. The greco-roman team, will hold training camps in Tokyo February 4-10 and March 7-13, and in Hungary from February 17 to March 4.


TOKYO (January 12) - The Japanese Olympic Committee has ranked wrestling as a Group A sport for its distribution of financial support for the development of athletes for the fiscal year 2008.

The JOC accorded the gAh ranking to wrestling on the strength of the Japanese womenfs chances for gold medals in Beijing, but could not accord the top designation of gSpecial Ah because of the lack of results in menfs freestyle and greco-roman. The Special A ranking was given to swimming, judo and softball, while wrestling, athletics, gymnastics, baseball and skating were ranked !.


TOKYO (January 8) - Five-time world champion Kyoko Hamaguchi skipped the womenfs World Cup in Taiyuan, China to focus on the Asian championships in March with a berth in this summerfs Beijing Olympics at stake.

Hamaguchi finished ninth in last yearfs world championships and narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympics. The top eight finishers at each of the four Olympic weights for women earned a ticket to Beijing. Hamaguchifs next chance will be in March at the Asian championships on Koreafs resort island of Jeju, where she can book a place in Beijing by winning the championship or finishing ahead of the other women who have not yet qualified.