To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


WARSAW (August 14) ? Four-time world champion Seiko Nagashima return to competition with four convincing wins and the 59kg title at the Poland Open Warsaw Cup women’s wrestling competition. The wrestler formerly known as Seiko Yamamoto was largely unchallenged in her return to competition after more than three years away from the mats.

She capped her winning run in Warsaw with a 4-1, 5-0 win over Beijing Olympian Marianna Sastin (HUN), who was one of Nagashima’s sparring partners shortly after she announced her decision to end her retirement. The victory marked a new beginning for Nagashima, who said she is coming out of retirement in an effort to make the Japanese Olympic team for the 2012 London Games.

Nagashima’s first bid to wrestle in the Olympics in 2004 came up short to Saori Yoshida. Hampered by a handful of niggling injuries, Nagashima announced her retirement from wrestling in June 2006. In the three years hence, Nagashima worked as a television commentator, got married and had a baby boy.

While working at last summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing, Nagashima was bitten by the competitive bug and decided to get her wrestling shoes out of storage. She has been training at home and made a short trip to Europe in the winter for training camps in Austria and Hungary. Nagashima told reporters that her next step will likely be the All-Japan Women’s Open in October, which will also serve as a qualification tourney for the All-Japan national championships in December.

59kg ? NAGASHIMA, Seiko (1st, 17 entries)

R1 ? bye

R2 ? df. Olga Kisova (RUS), 2-0(3-0, 3-0)
Nagashima had the Russian Olympian, formerly known as Olga Smirnova, off-balance with plenty of motion and timely feints, spinning behind for all six points.

R3 ? df. Margarita Fatkulina (RUS) by fall, 2P=1:48 (6-0=1:25, F4-0)
Fatkulina tried to slow Nagashima down with head-and-collar ties, but on the mat Nagashima wrapped up the first period with a pair of trap-arm tilts, then secured the fall with a bar arm to body press in the second.

SF ? df. Ganna Vasylenko (UKR), 2-0 (2-0, 4-1)
Nagashima was patient in the battle to the tie-ups with the 2007 European bronze medalist. She slipped through for a high-crotch takedown to the back in the first period and scored off a pair of double-leg attacks in the second. In the final seconds, Nagashima gave up a point when she stepped out of bounds.

F1 ? df. Marianna Sastin (HUN), 2-0 (4-1, 5-0)
Nagashima opened with an ankle pick for three points in the first period, then capped her victory with a front headlock to ankle pick combination for three more points in the second.