To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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


PATTAYA, Thailand (May 4) - Reigning world champion Mio Nishimaki racked up three wins at 63kg to add Asia champion to her growing list of wrestling achievements. It was the first senior Asia championship title for the 21-year-old Nishimaki, who won her first world title last October in Tokyo. She has also won the junior world title twice, the Asia junior crown in 2005, as well as the world university championship in 2006 along with the Golden Grand Prix title.

Meanwhile, with five gold medals up for grabs in the women’s events, Japanese wrestlers also bagged a silver and two bronze. With Kyoko Hamaguchi reportedly taking an extended respite from the pressures of high level competition, Asuka Sano stepped in to win her first medal in a major international meet. A former judoka, Sano posted a pair of wins at 72kg before falling to last year’s world runner-up Hong Yan of China in the gold medal final.

Makiko Sakamoto (48kg) and Yoshiko Inoue (67kg) both rebounded from losses in the semifinals to Chinese opponents for third place.

Japan did not have an entry at 51kg after reigning junior world champ Yu Horiuchi aggravated a shoulder injury at the junior national championships last month.


Women’s freestyle

48kg - SAKAMOTO, Makiko (3rd, 11 entries)

R1 - df. Baasanjargal Dashdavaa (MGL) by fall, 1P (F8-0)
 Sakamoto hits a takedown for three points right off the whistle, follows with a single-leg, then a double-leg for the fall.

R2 - df. Rathi Neha (IND), 2-0 (6-0, 2-0)
 Sakamoto scores with a pair of takedowns and a gut wrench in the first period against the former Commonwealth Games champion, then sews up the win with a force-out and go-behind.

SF - lost to Li Xiaomei (CHN), 1-2 (2-0, 0-1, 2-4)
 Sakamoto takes the first period from the defensive position in the clinch, stepping over Li’s takedown attempt, but gives up the second on a takedown by the 2007 world bronze medalist. In the third period, Sakamoto attacks with a single-leg that Li counters for 2-point exposure. Sakamoto tries to battle back, but it’s too little, too late.

F3 - df. Lee Yu-Mi (KOR) by fall, 1P (F7-0)
 Sakamoto strikes early for a takedown, rolls up some exposure point and presses for the fall.


51kg - No entry (10 entries)

Yu Horiuchi withdrew before the competition with a strained right shoulder.


63kg - NISHIMAKI, Mio (1st, 10 entries)

R1 - bye

R2 - df. Suman Kundu (IND), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
 Nishimaki scores force-out points in both periods for the win.

SF - df. Luong Thi Quyen (VIE), 2-0 (9-4, 3-0)
 Nishimaki comes out aggressive but her opponent counters for points in a seesaw first period. Nishimaki settles down in the second to secure the win.

F1 - df. Thongkam Wilaiwan (THA) by fall, 2P (7-0, F2-0)
 Nishimaki rolls up points in the first period with a series of gut wrenches, then wraps up the local favorite for the fall right off the takedown.


67kg - INOUE, Yoshiko (3rd, 7 entries)

R1 - df. Geetika Jakhar (IND), 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)

SF - lost to Ma Yan (CHN), 1-2 (0-1, 2-1, 0-1)
 Inoue wins the draw for the first period clinch, but cannot convert as Ma takes the point. Inoue evens the count with a single-leg and gut wrench in the second, but loses the draw and the clinch in the third.

F3 - df. Kim Ji-Eun (KOR), 2-0 (6-0, 1-0)
 Inoue wraps up the first period quickly with a series of cross-ankle turns, but has to battle in the second to find an opening for the winning takedown.


72kg - SANO, Asuka (2nd, 9 entries)

R1 - bye

R2 - df. Yana Panova (KGZ), 2-0 (3-0, 1-0)

SF - df. Gursharanprett Kaur (IND), 2-0 (1-0, 4-0)

F1 - lost to Hong Yan (CHN), 0-2 (0-1, 0-4)
 Sano drops the first period to last year’s world runner-up, but comes out looking to even the count in the second period. Sano’s takedown attempt is countered with a throw for three points.