To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

By William May
(Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee


BAKU, Azerbaijan (July 18) – World champion Mio Nishimaki won her second FILA Golden Grand Prix title as Japan crowned three champions overall in the women’s events at the biggest prize money event in international wrestling. Nishimaki, who won at the inaugural GGP meet in 2006, took home the first prize money of $10,000 after dominating the field at 63kg. Chikako Matsukawa, another champion from 2006, won at 55kg.

Makiko Sakamoto defeated Olympic bronze medalist Maria Stadnyk (AZE) in the semifinals and went on to win the 48kg crown in a three-period nail-biter over 2007 European champion Lorissa Oorzak (RUS).

Yuri Kai, another medalist from 2006, was stunned by newly crowned Asia champion Tatyana Baktyuk (KAZ) in a free-for-all in the final at 51kg and took her second GGP silver medal.

The Japanese squad also takes home a pair bronze medals from Ayano Suzuki (48kg) and Kei Yamana (59kg).

Women’s freestyle

48kg – SAKAMOTO, Makiko (1st, 12 entries)
R1 – df. Annika Hofmann (GER), 2-0 (2-0, 3-0)
Sakamoto spins behind for a handful of points in a one-sided win against the Europe No. 8.

R2 – df. Lindsay Rushton (CAN), 2-0 (4-0, 1-0)

SF – df. Maria Stadnyk (AZE), 2-1 (1-0=2:14, 1-1x=last, 1-0)
Sakamoto scratches out a win against the Olympic bronze medalist and two-time European champion. Sakamoto takes the first period from the clinch, but drops the second after giving up a late takedown for the last point.

In the third, Sakamoto hits a clean single-leg, but is countered crisply by Stadnyk. Sakamoto shifts to a single-leg with the head to the outside to earn her point, then protects over the last 30 seconds for the win.

F1 – df. Lorissa Oorzak (RUS), 2-1 (0-1=2:03, 1-0=2:04, 2-0=2:06)

Sakamoto has difficulty getting in on her attacks against the 2007 European champion. All three periods end with the clinch Oorzak taking the first and Sakamoto taking the next two.


48kg – SUZUKI, Ayano (3rd, 12 entries)
R1 – bye

R2 – lost to Lorissa Oorzak (RUS), 1-2 (3-0=2:05, 0-2, 0-3)
Suzuki takes the first period from the clinch, but can get nothing the rest of the way against the 2007 European champion, making her comeback after a near-fatal car accident.

F3 – df. Yana Stadnik (GBR),2-0 (1-0, 4-0)
Suzuki defeats the former European junior champion with a force-out in the first period and a fireman’s carry in the second.


51kg – KAI, Yuri (2nd, 10 entries)

R1 – df. Emese Szabo (HUN), 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)
Kai sets the pace against Euro No.2 with leg attacks and go-behinds for the win.

R2 – df. Ekaterina Krasnova (RUS), 2-1 (4-0, 0-1=2:30, 6-0=1:43)
Kai has the single-leg working in the first period, but the European champion shuts her down in the second as well as denying her a clinch point. Kai goes to her double-leg attack in the third to earn the technical.

SF – df. Sofia Mattsson (SWE), 2-0 (1x-1=last, 2-1)
Two-time junior world champ Mattsson tries in vain to avenge a loss in Goetzis to Kai a month ago, but gives up the last point in the first period and a late single in the second.

F1 – lost to Tatyana Bakatyuk (KAZ), 0-2 (0-1=2:21, 3-5)
The first period goes to the clinch with the Asia champion Bakatyuk getting the choice. Kai appears to counter nicely with a switch and has wait out the last 10 seconds. She stands up, however, and Bakatyuk dumps Kai to her back with a scissors kick! In the second, Bakatyuk keeps up her unorthodox attack, using a lateral drop and front headlock and turn for five points and the win.


55kg – MATSUKAWA, Chikako (1st, 11 entries)

R1 – bye

R2 – df. Gudrun Hoeie (NOR) by fall, 1P=1:52 (F5-0)
Matsukawa moves from a double-leg takedown to the fall against the Norwegian veteran.

SF – df. Sona Ahmadli (AZE) by fall, 1P=1:48 (F5-4)
The European junior No. 2 stunned Matsukawa with an arm throw early, put later paid the price as Matsukawa whipped her to her back for the fall.

F1 – df. Yuliya Ratkevich (AZE), 2-0 (2-0, 6-0=1:25)
Matsukawa, the GGP champion in 2006, has little trouble with former junior world silver medalist. She wraps up the match with a trap-arm gut wrench for six points in the second period.


59kg – YAMANA, Kei (3rd, 8 entries)
R1 – lost to Johanna Mattsson (SWE), 0-2 (1-2, 0-5)
Yamana has Mattsson on her back leg with a force-out point but the European champion bounces back with her own force-out and a point for Japan’s failed challenge. Mattsson counters Yamana’s attack in the second period to secure the win.

F3 – df. Irina Husyak (UKR) by fall, 1p=0:41 (F4-0)
Yamana, heading to the world championships in September, moves from a quick takedown to head-an-arm control and the fall.


63kg – NISHIMAKI, Mio (1st, 10 entries)
R1 – bye

R2 – df. Paulina Grabovska (POL), 2-0 (4-0, 4-0)
Last year’s junior worlds runner-up cannot keep up with the world champ’s single-leg attacks and spin-behind counters.

SF – df. Monika Michalik (POL), 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)
Nishimaki continues with her strategy of simple leg attacks and go-behind counters for a hard-fought win against the reigning European champion.

F1 – df. Lyubov Volossova (RUS), 2-0 (7-0=1:43, 3-0)
A rematch of last year’s world championships final, Nishimaki keeps the pressure on Volossova from the start taking points off leg attacks for a technical in the first period. Then cruises home with three go-behind counters in the second.


72kg – SANO, Asuka (7th, 12 entries)
R1 – df. Diana Mudrag (ROU), 2-1 (1-3, 4-0, 2-0)
Sano drops the first period on a clean arm throw by the world No. 10. The reigning Japanese national champ, however, bounced back by stopping her opponent’s throw attempts and scoring with leg attacks and gut wrenches.

R2 – lost to Ohenewa Akuffo (CAN), 0-2 (0-1=2:02, 0-1=2:02)
Sano could not score against the powerful Canadian and gave up both periods on points from the clinch. Sano was eliminated when Akuffo lost in the semifinals to world champion Stanka Zlateva.


72kg – SHINKAI, Mami (8th, entries)
R1 – df. Ochirbat Burmaa (MGL), 2-0 (1-0=2:25, 2-1)
Shinkai takes the first period from the clinch, then scores a late single-leg for the win.

R2 – lost to Stanka Zlateva (BUL) by fall, 2P=0:57 (0-1, F0-6)
Zlateva spins behind Shinkai in the second period, then flips her to her back for the fall.

r1 – lost to Alena Starodubsteva (RUS), 0-2 (0-2, 0-2)
Shinkai could not get her offense going against the European silver medal winner, giving up a handful of snap-down and go-behind points.