To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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


TOKYO (April 5) - Saori Yoshida gave up her first points to a Japanese opponent in over five years, but still cruised to her eighth straight triumph in the Japan women’s wrestling national championships. Yoshida’s eighth straight win in the championships, formerly known as the Japan Queens Cup tournament, equaled the mark of Kyoko Hamaguchi set between 1999 to 2007 and netted Yoshida the Queen’s Cup as the meet’s outstanding wrestler.

However, although winning was business as usual for Yoshida, it was a shock for Japanese wrestling fans to see the two-time Olympic, six-time world champ give up points to a Japanese opponent. The last time was in February 2004 to archrival Seiko Yamamoto. This time it happened twice.

In the first round, Yoshida was out of position going for a fall early in the first period and was rolled over to her back momentarily by Rino Yoshida (no relation), a second-year student at Chukyo Women’s University. The elder Yoshida, however, came back to win by technical fall. Again, in the finals, Yoshida was in control of the match in the second period when Chikako Matsukawa spun around behind for a point. But, Yoshida roared back to secure the championship by fall.

“I was doing things (today) I didn’t need to,” explained Yoshida, who had aimed to win all her matches by fall without giving up a point. “If I wrestle like I did today in London (at the 2012 Olympics), I won’t be able to win a third gold medal.”

Meanwhile, in the other senior finals, Makiko Sakamoto (48kg) and Ayako Shoda (59kg) each defended their 2008 titles, while Mio Nishimaki (63kg) won for a second straight year after winning at 67kg last year.

Yu Horiuchi (51kg), Yoshiko Inoue (67kg) and Asuka Sano (72kg) added their first spring-time championship crowns to the All-Japan titles they won in December.

Championship finals

48kg - Makiko Sakamoto df. Fuyuko Mimura, 1-0 (1-0=2:03, 1-0)

51kg - Yu Horiuchi df. Yuri Kai, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0=2:03)

55kg - Saori Yoshida df. Chikako Matsukawa by fall, 2P=1:19 (2-0, F4-1)

59kg - Ayako Shoda df. Yurika Ito, 2-0 (2-1, 6-0=0:52)

63kg - Mio Nishimaki df. Kayoko Kudo, 2-0 (5-0, 6-0=1:48)

67kg - Yoshiko Inoue df. Chiaki Iijima, 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)

72kg - Asuka Sano df. Mami Shinkai, 1-0 (1-0=2:30, 3-0)