To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


By William May
iJapan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee
Kyodo World Services, senior sports writerFwmay52@hotmail.comj

July wrestling news


TOKYO (July 31) - Former world champions Kyoko Hamaguchi and Seiko Yamamoto (now, Nagashima) will be testing the competitive waters at the Poland Womenfs Open in Warsaw, August 13-14. Hamaguchi, a five-time world champion who took a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics, decided to take a break from competition this year, but will use the Warsaw tourney to stave off the accumulation of mat rust. She will wrestle at 72kg

Yamamoto, meanwhile, is returning to the mats for the first time since 2006. After winning four world titles from 1999 to 2003, Yamamoto was unable to unseat Saori Yoshida for the 55kg spot on the Japanese squad for the Athens Olympics and eventually hung up her wrestling shoes in June 2006.

Yamamotofs desire to compete, however, was rekindled after serving as a guest commentator for Japanese television at last yearfs Beijing Games. In her first competition since her return to wrestling, Yamamoto plans to enter at 59kg.

The Poland Open, formerly known as the Warsaw Ladies Open, is considered one of the top tourneys in female wrestling and is used by many coaches and wrestlers each year as a measuring stick before the world championships.

In 2007, the champions included Athens gold medalist Irina Melnik (UKR, 48kg), silver medalist Sara McMann (USA, 63kg) and currently reigning three-time world champion Stanka Zlateva (BUL, 72kg).


WAKO, Saitama (July 4-5) - Asia champion Chikako Matsukawa of the Japan Beverage company won easily at 55kg and was named the outstanding wrestler in womenfs freestyle at the All-Japan Shakaijin wrestling championships.

Meanwhile, in the menfs events Ryuta Takahashi of the Japan Self-Defense Forces team and teammate Naoto Kasai were named the outstanding wrestlers in menfs freestyle and greco-roman, respectively.

Takahashi stopped former national team member Takayuki Suzuki in the freestyle semifinals, while Kasai upended SDF teammate Hiroyuki Shimizu in the greco-roman finals.

Also in the tourney for non-student, senior-level wrestlers, former world champ Ayako Shoda rebounded from a loss in a special world team wrestle-off in June to claim the 59kg crown.

Team, Men
Company team - ALSOK Security
Club team - Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department

Team, Women
Company-Club team - Japan Self Defense Forces

Individual, menfs freestyle
55kg - Kazuhide Tomita, SDF
60kg - Hidenori Taoka, SDF
66kg - Kohei Fujimoto, MPD
74kg - Ryuta Takahashi, SDF
84kg - Tetsuro Asami, Toa Gakuen high school
96kg - Yoshitaka Shimoyashiki, NEWS DERI
120kg - Norihiro Sakurai, Honma-gumi
OW - Takahashi

Womenfs freestyle
48kg - Ayano Suzuki, Japan Beverage
51kg - Hiromi Sakurai, Yoyogi Club
55kg - Chikako Matsukawa, Japan Beverage
59kg - Ayako Shoda, Amino high school
63kg - Kayoko Shimada, SDF
67kg - no entries
72kg - Mami Shinkai, Aishin AW
OW - Matsukawa

Individual, greco-roman
55kg - Hayanobu Shimizu, SDF
60kg - Yoshitaka Kido, SDF
66kg - Ryo Izawa, SDF
74kg - Naoto Kasai, SDF
84kg - Ryo Ito, SDF
96kg - Yasuhiro Mori, Mie high school
120kg - Ken Sogabe, Nichia Kagaku Kogyo
OW - Kasai


OSAKA (July 4-5) - Ritsumeikan University of Kyoto edged Nihon Bunri University of Oita, 4-3, to win its fifth straight West Japan collegiate wrestling championship crown. It was also the 16th title overall for Ritsumeikan in the tourney that is held twice a year in the spring and fall.

Chukyo Gakuin University in Gifu went 6-0 to win the tourneyfs second division and reclaim a berth in the top division for the fall tourney.


TOKYO (July 23 ) - Ai Shimizu of Toyo University was named to the Japanese womenfs squad for the junior world championships August 4-9 in Ankara, Turkey.

Shimizu, third at the junior national championships in April, replaces defending junior world champ Yu Horiuchi, who will miss the junior and senior world championships after surgery to a dislocated right shoulder.


TOKAMACHI, Niigata (July 21-26) - The Japanese womenfs national team held its fourth training camp of the year and the second one at the teamfs mountain retreat site with an eye on the world championships in September.

Yuji Takada, executive director of the Japan Wrestling Federation and 1976 Olympic gold medalist, conducted a takedown seminar at the first session of the training camp and the issued a gbanh on any leg attacks by Olympic and world champion Saori Yoshida. gEven if I get my points with a leg attack, if I attack with arm control or some kind of greco-roman offense, it will shake up the opponent and Ifll be able to establish my pattern,h Yoshida said of her new marching orders.

Yoshida will be seeking to add to her six world titles and two Olympic gold medals when the world championships get under way in Herning, Denmark on September 21. Yoshida admitted that she gets a little lonely without the Icho sisters (Chiharu and Kaori) and Kyoko Hamaguchi, who have formed the nucleus of the Japanese team from 2002. She quickly adds, however, gI get over it quickly because I have to help bring along the younger wrestlers.h

Meanwhile, the Japanese women who wrestled at the FILA Golden Grand Prix final in Azerbaijan on July 18, returned to Japan just in time to travel to the training camp.

Reigning world champ Mio Nishimaki, who took the GGP final at 63kg, said she hoped to repeat as world champion in Denmark, but added that she is looking ahead to a possible match-up with Olympic gold medalist Kaori Icho in the All-Japan championships.

Another GGP winner Makiko Sakamoto remarked she was happy to make it over the gsemifinals hurdleh in Baku, after stumbling in the semifinals at the world championships in Tokyo last October and in the Asian championships in May.

gEach of the three periods in the final with Russia (Lorisa Oorzak) were 0-0, and if I wrestle like that in the world championships I wonft win,h said Sakamoto. gIfm looking ahead to the London Olympics and itfs important that I win the world championships this year to get some momentum on my side.h


TOKYO (July 24-26) - Tokyofs Gold Kids club won 12 categories and the Suita Community wrestling school from Osaka won eight at the national schoolboy schoolgirl wrestling championships in Tokyo. More than 1,300 wrestlers from 175 clubs in 43 prefectures took part in the championships at Yoyogi National Gymnasium, making it the largest ever kids championships in Japan to date.

Among the 12 titles won by the Gold Kids was sixth grade 34kg winner Kazuya Numazaki, who won a fifth straight kids crown, and Taishi Narukuni at sixth grade 36kg who won for a third straight year for his fifth overall kids title.

Narukuni is coached by his mother, former world champion and Gold Kids club founder Akiko Narukuni (nee Iijima). More than half of the entries for the Gold Kids placed in their respective categories.