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 21) ? Veteran Kazuyuki Nagashima closes out the men’s freestyle competition with a challenging draw at 74kg at the senior wrestling world championships in Herning. Nagashima opens against Olympic bronze medalist Kiril Terziev (BUL) with a draw that could pit him against some of the top wrestlers from Europe including Chamsulvara Chamsulvaraev (AZE).

On the opposite of the bracket, another Olympic bronze medalist Murad Gaidarov (BLR), Asia champions Sadegh Goudarzi (IRI) and Cho Byung-Kwan (KOR) along with 2007 junior world champ Denis Tsargush (RUS) will battle for the other finals spot.

Meanwhile, with men’s freestyle wrapping up, the women take to the mats on the third day of the world meet at Messecenter Herning with competition in the two lightest categories ? 48kg and 51kg.

Makiko Sakamoto is making her third trip to the world championships and will be seeking her first gold medal after bronze medals in 2005 and 2008. Sakamoto opens with past Pan American junior champion Ommariel Valenzuela (VEN) and could be looking a semifinals showdown with Olympic bronze medal winner Mariya Stadnyk (AZE). Stadnyk is also a two-time European champion.

The opposite side of the bracket at 48kg features reigning world champ Clarissa Chun (USA) and silver medalist Zhuldyz Eshimova (KAZ). Also in the mix is Lorisa Oorzhak (RUS), making a comeback after a near fatal car accident in 2007.

A new champion will be crowned at 51kg with the retirement of six-time world champion Hitomi Sakamoto, Makiko’s older sister, last year. Japan has won nine of the last 10 world titles at this weight and will try to continue their success here with Yuri Kai, making her debut on the Japanese world team.

Kai, the 2007 World Cup champion at 48kg, squares off in the first round with Mariya Egorova (BLR), a silver medalist at the 2006 world championships at 55kg. Also in Kai’s quarter of the bracket is Euro No. 2 Emese Szabo (HUN) and Asian champion Tatyana Bakatyuk (KAZ), who stunned Kai with her unorthodox style in winning the Golden Grand Prix final this summer.

Three different wrestlers from Russia have won the European title at 51kg the last three years, but Marina Vilmova is their pick for this year’s world meet.

Men’s freestyle
74kg ? NAGASHIMA, Kazuyuki (31 entries)
R1 ? v. Kiril Terziev (BUL)

Women’s freestyle
48kg ? SAKAMOTO, Makiko (25 entries)
R1 ? v. Ommariel Valenzuela (VEN)

51kg ? KAI, Yuri (27 entries)
R1 ? v. Mariya Egorova (BLR)