To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


By William May
(Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee
Kyodo World Services, senior sports


HERNING, Denmark (September 24) ? Saori Yoshida won her seventh world title at 55kg and Mio Nishimaki defended her 63kg crown as Japanese wrestlers climbed to the top of the medals podium for the first time at the wrestling world championships in Herning.

Yoshida defeated a couple of familiar faces ? in Anna Gomis (FRA) and Tonya Verbeek (CAN) -- on her way to the final at Messecenter Herning, but faced little-known Sona Ahmedli (AZE) for the title.

And like the others before her, Ahmedli did not have an answer for Yoshida’s leg attacks and had to settle for a silver medal on her first trip to the final of a major FILA event.

The triumph for Yoshida was an unprecedented seventh world title to go with her two gold medals from the Athens and Beijing Olympics.

Nishimaki, meanwhile, defeated Olympic bronze medalist Elena Shalygina (KAZ) in the semifinals to face a familiar foe, Lyubov Volossova (RUS), for the gold medal. It was the third time that Nishimaki and Volossova have met in the final of a major FILA event ? all ending in victories for the Chukyo Women’s University student.

Nishimaki defeated Volossova in last year’s world championships in Tokyo and again at the Golden Grand Prix final in Baku earlier this summer.

At 59kg, Kei Yamana fell in the first round to Olga Kiosova (RUS), a veteran of the Athens and Beijing Olympics for Russia and Kazakhstan. Yamana had to settle for 19th place overall when Kiosova, formerly known as Olga Smirnova, lost in the second round.

With one day and two weight categories remaining in the women’s competition, Japan faces the possibility of ending the women’s events with only two gold medals for the first time since 2001.

Azerbaijan, meanwhile strengthened their position to unseat Japan as world team champions with a second gold medal, from Yuliya Ratkevich (AZE) at 59kg, and Ahmedli’s silver medal at 55kg

Women’s freestyle

55kg ? YOSHIDA, Saori (1st, 27 entries)
R1 ? df. Maminirina Rafaliharisolo (MAD) by TF, 2-0 (8-0=1:05, 7-0=0:40)
Yoshida overwhelms her opponent with a pair of takedowns to the back in the first period, adding another in the second period for the win by technical superiority.

R2 ? df. Anna Gomis (FRA), 2-0 (1-0, 2-1)
Yoshida, wrestling cautiously against the 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, takes the first period on a single-leg attack to force-out and the second with a double-leg takedown and go-behind counter.

QF ? df. Ana Maria Paval (ROU) by fall, 2P=1:00 (3-0, F3-0)
Yoshida takes Paval to her back off a single-leg attack and presses for the fall.

SF ? df. Tonya Verbeek (CAN), 2-0 (3-0, 3-2)
Yoshida opens with two quick single-leg attacks to drive Verbeek out of bounds and closes with a single-leg re-shoot counter in the first period. Yoshida opens with a single-leg takedown and gains exposure with an ankle turn, then goes on defense against Verbeek who scores with a force-out and go-behind.

F1 ? df. Sona Ahmedli (AZE), 2-0 (3-0, 6-0=1:16)
Yoshida picks apart the 20-year-old student from Baku with seven separate single-leg and double-leg attacks, including a three-point single-leg to the back to conclude the match.

59kg ? YAMANA, Kei (19th, 26 entries)
R1 ? lost to Olga Kiosova (RUS), 0-2 (2-5, 0-1=2:04)
Yamana gives up a step-over counter to her double-leg attack and then is tossed over with a lift in the first period. Kiosova takes the second period and the match from the clinch. Yamana has her medal chances dashed when Kiosova loses in second round.

63kg ? NISHIMAKI, Mio (25 entries)
R1 ? bye

R2 ? df. Olesja Zamula (AZE), 2-0 (2-0, 2-1)
Nishimaki wrestlers sluggishly taking a pair of go-behind points in both periods to defeat the Beijing Olympian from Azerbaijan.

QF ? df. Stefanie Stueber (GER), 2-1 (1-1x=last, 1-0, 1-0)
Nishimaki takes a point with an arm drag to behind, but drops the first period when Stueber hits a lateral drop just before time. Nishimaki, again wrestling cautiously, drags out a front headlock for the second period, then passes behind twice to take the third.

SF ? df. Elena Shalygina (KAZ), 2-0 (3-0, 5-0)
Nishimaki comes to life with a pair of force-outs from behind and a spin behind in the first period, then closes the deal with a single-leg, arm control and turn over.

F1 ? df. Lyubov Volossova (RUS), 2-0 (1-0, 8-1)
Nishimaki takes the first period with a lone single-leg takedown. In the second, Nishimaki works her way out of arm control to go behind where she cranks Volossova over with an arm bar for a 5-0 lead. Later in the period, she slips out of Volossova’s attempted pin and puts the Russian on her back as time runs out.