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 23) ? World champions Saori Yoshida and Mio Nishimaki take to the mats on the fourth day of the world wrestling championships, with Yoshida seeking to add an unprecedented seventh world title to her two Olympic gold medals at 55kg.

Nishimaki, meanwhile, will be seeking to defend the 63kg title she won in her first trip to the world championships last October in Tokyo.

Japan also sends Kei Yamana, a former junior world champion appearing in her first senior world meet, to the mats to try and keep the 59kg world title in Japan.

Yoshida will open with an untested Mamirina Rafaliharisolo (MAD), but could face five-time European champ Natalia Golts (RUS), reigning Euro No. 1 Nataliya Synyshyn (UKR) as well as Olympic silver and bronze medalist Tonya Verbeek (CAN) on her way to the final.

The opposite half of the bracket at 55kg features European silver medal winner Alena Filipava and world bronze medalist Tatiana Padilla (USA).

At 63kg, Nishimaki opens with Beijing Olympian Olesja Zamula (AZE) in the second round and could face 2007 European champ Stefanie Stueber (GER) and Olympic bronze medalist and world No. 2 in 2007 Elena Shalygina (KAZ) if she is to make to the finals.

The bottom half of the bracket will be a free-for-all with European champ Monika Michalik (POL), World Cup champ Justine Bouchard (CAN), Pan American champion Elena Pirozhkov (USA) and last year’s world runner-up Lubov Volossova (RUS) all in the mix.

Japan has won four of the last five world titles at 59kg and Yamana hopes to make it five out of six when she takes on Russian veteran Olga Kiosova (RUS) in the opening bout of the category.

The category should be a wide open race with 2005 world runner-up Marianna Sastin (HUN), Euro bronze medal winner Meryem Selloum (FRA) and Agata Pietrzyk (POL) leading the charge.

Women’s freestyle

55kg ? YOSHIDA, Saori (27 entries)
R1 ? Maminirina Rafaliharisolo (MAD)

59kg ? YAMANA, Kei (26 entries)
R1 ? Olga Kiosova (RUS)

63kg ? NISHIMAKI, Mio (25 entries)
R1 ? bye
R2 ? Olesja Zamula (AZE)