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 19) ? A new Olympic cycle kicks off Monday with three new faces on the Japanese men’s freestyle team hoping to get Japan off on the right foot at the world wrestling championships in Herning.

All three of Japan’s entries on the first day of competition at Messecenter Herning all hail from Takushoku University, coached by former world bronze medalist Shigeki Nishiguchi, and are the Tokyo school’s lone representatives on the Japanese team.

Shinichi Yumoto, twin brother of Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Kenichi Yumoto, gets things rolling for Japan at 55kg against Canada’s John Pineda, a bronze medal winner in the 2008 Pan American championships. The path to a medal for Yumoto, however, will not be a walk in the park with junior champion Hassan Rahimi (IRI) and Europe’s No. 2 last year Rizvan Gadshiev (BLR) in the top quarter of the 32-wrestler bracket.

Former world champion and Olympic bronze medalist Radoslav Velikov (BUL), Golden Grand Prix winner Namig Sevdimov (AZE) and Asian champion Kim Hyo-Sub (KOR) drew to the bottom half of the bracket at 55kg.

Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu, a former world student champion and Asia silver medalist, opens at 66kg with European bronze medal winner Zhikayr Hovhannisyan (ARM). On Yonemitsu’s side of the draw are 2007 world runner-up Geandry Garzon (CUB) as well as European runner-up Jabrayil Hasanov (AZE) and 2008 bronze medal winner Rasul Djukaev (RUS)

With Olympic and world champion Ramazan Shahin (TUR) on the sidelines, reportedly with health issues, Olympic silver medalist Andriy Stadnik (UKR) takes on the favorite’s mantle. Stadnik drew to the lower-half half of bracket along with Asian champion Mehdi Taghavi Kermani (IRI) and 2006 Asia winner Leonid Spiridonov (KAZ).

At 96kg, Takao Isokawa meets highly touted American collegiate star Jake Varner in a match of wrestlers making their world championship debuts.

In a bottom-heavy draw, Isokawa or Varner will likely find themselves pitted against reigning and past Asia champions Saeed Abrahimi (IRI) and Kurban Kurbanov (UZB) as well a world champions Khadshimourad Gatsalov (RUS) and Georgi Gogshelidze (GEO) in the battle a berth in the finals.

55kg ? YUMOTO, Shinichi (32 entries)
R1 ? v. John Pineda (CAN)

66kg ? YONEMITSU, Tatsuhiro (34 entries)
R1 ? bye
R2 ? v. Zhikayr Hovhannisyan (ARM)

96kg ? ISOKAWA, Takao (30 entries)
R1 ? v. Jake Varner (USA)