To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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


PATTAYA, Thailand (May 5) - National team newcomer Yurika Ito fashioned four convincing wins in the women’s final event of 59kg to give Japan its fourth gold medal in as many days at the Asian senior wrestling championships. Ito’s gold medal was also the third won by the Japanese women with each of Japan’s six entries in the competition taking home a piece of the tournament hardware. A forfeit at 51kg, however, left the Japanese in second place in the team race behind China, 63-55.

It was only the third time that Japan has not won the team title in the Asian championships, following second-place finishes in 2001 and 2007.

For Japanese wrestling officials, Ito was a special surprise as the 18-year-old first-year student at International Pacific Rim University won the Asia senior crown less than 18 months after winning her second Asia cadet title in Tashkent. While making some mistakes due to youthful enthusiasm, Ito won all four of her matches by fall or technical superiority, outscoring her opponents 43-5.

Meanwhile, as the men’s freestyle competition got under way, a promising morning session that sent all three Japanese entries into the medal round fizzled out in the afternoon as only Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu could a silver medal at 66kg.

Yonemitsu looked solid in his march to the gold-medal final, but two-time junior world champ and Beijing Olympian Mehdi Taghavi Kermani proved too much for last year’s world student champion.

Seshito Shimizu (55kg) and Shogo Maeda (60kg) both advanced to the semifinals, but back-to-back losses left them in fifth place.

Men’s freestyle

55kg - SHIMIZU, Seshito (5th, 15 entries)

R1 - df. Tsogtbaatar Damdinbazar (MGL), 2-1 (2-3, 1-0, 2-1)
 Shimizu misfires on a front headlock and turn and drops the first period, but spins behind off a front head and arm for the second. In the third period, a late go-behind gives him the win against the junior world bronze medalist.

R2 - df. Phan Duc Khang (VIE) by fall, 1P (F6-3)
 Shimizu gives up a 3-point takedown early, but answers back with his own 3-point counter to a throw, then holds for the fall.

SF - lost to Kim Hyo-Sub (KOR), 1-2 (1-5, 1-2)
 Shimizu gives up a quick takedown in the first period and can’t get anything going over four minutes against the two-time Olympian and 2006 Asian Games bronze medalist.

F3 - lost to Nurlan Orozbek (KGZ) by fall, 2P (0-2, F1-7)


60kg - MAEDA, Shogo (5th, 17 entries)

R1 - bye

R2 - df. Silap Chariev (TKM), 2-0 (1-0, 7-0)
 A lone takedown is enough for Maeda in the first period. The national team newcomer gets into his rhythm in the second with a pair of takedowns followed with cross-ankle turns for the technical.

R3 - df. Kim Jong-Dae (KOR), 2-1 (1-0, 0-1, 2-0)

SF - lost to Jo Tong-Hyok (PRK), 0-2 (1-2, 1-5)

F3 - lost to Bazar Bazarguruev (KGZ), 1-2 (1-0, 0-5, 0-1)


66kg - YONEMITSU, Tatsuhiro (2nd, 18 entries)

R1 - bye

R2 - df. Hei Jilibu (CHN), 2-0 (5-1, 6-0)
 Yonemitsu scores with a quick takedown and adds points with gut wrenches. The world student champion opens the second with a double-leg attack, then gets rolling on the mat for the win.

R3 - df. Bator Bazarov (KGZ), 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)
 Yonemitsu scores with single-leg and double-leg takedowns for the win.

SF - df. Kim Dai-Sung (KOR), 2-1 (1-2, 3-1, 6-0)

F1 - lost to Mehdi Taghavi Kermani (IRI), 0-2 (1-1, 0-3)


Women’s freestyle

59kg - ITO, Yurika (1st, 9 entries)

R1 - df. Ridha Wahdaniyati (INA) by TF, 2-0 (7-0, 7-0)

R2 - df. Alka Tomar (IND) by fall, 1P (F5-2)
 Ito scores with a single-leg off the whistle and tacks on exposure for a 3-0 lead. When Tokar attempts to escape, Ito moves to a front headlock. Tokar, bronze medal winner at the 2006 Asian Games, executes a turn from a reverse grip underneath, but Ito regains the advantage and presses for the fall at the buzzer.

SF - df. Battsetseg Soronzonbold (MGL) by fall, 2P (7-0, F5-3)
 Ito spins behind to open the first period, then wraps it up quickly with three gut wrenches. In the second, Battsetseg dumps Ito for three points, but the 18-year-old Osaka native recovers to put last year’s Asia junior runner-up on her back for the fall.

F1 - df. Jia Mei (CHN) by TF, 2-0 (6-0, 6-0)