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By William May
(Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee:wmay52@hotmail.com


MOSCOW (September 8) – Hitomi Sakamoto returned to the international mats after a two-year absence to win her seventh world championship crown as women's wrestling events got under way at the Olympiysky Sports Complex in Moscow.

Sakamoto defeated local favorite Lorisa Oorzhak (RUS) in three periods for her first world title at 48kg after winning six times at 51kg from 2000 to 2008. Oorzhak, meanwhile, had to settle for the silver medal for a second straight year. Also for the Japanese women, junior world champion Yu Horiuchi made her debut on the senior national team at 51kg and edged defending champion Sofia Mattsson (SWE) their opening bout.

Horiuchi, however, had to settle for a silver medal as the 19-year-old Nihon University student as tentatively against Aleksandra Kohut (UKR), a bronze medal at the world meet a year ago. Horiuchi could not get to Kohut's legs and allowed both periods of their final to go to a clinch. Kohut won both draws for the clinch and promptly took Horiuchi to the mat both times for her first world championship title.

Meanwhile, on the final day of men's greco-roman competition, Takehiro Kanakubo upset 2006 Asian Games champion Roman Melyoshin (KAZ) in the quarterfinals at 74kg on his way to a fifth place finish.Kanakubo, a late replacement for 74kg national champion Tsukasa Tsurumaki, strung together four wins before falling to 2009 European champion Arsen Julfalakyan (ARM) in the semifinals and to two-time Asian champion Daniyar Kobonov (KGZ) in the bout for third place.


Results of bouts involving Japanese entries:
74kg – KANAKUBO, Takehiro (5th, 39 entries)
R1 – df. Tebitara Katea Ueresi (SOL) by fall, 1P=1:06 (F5-0)
Kanakubo scores with a quick force-out, then follows with an arm throw and presses for the fall.

R2 – df. Petros Manouilidis (GRE), 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)
Kanakubo scores a bodylock takedown in the first. then scores in par terre with a gut wrench in the second.

R3 – df. Aleksandr Kazakevic (LTU) 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)
Kanakubo takes the first period against the Beijing Olympian with a gut wrench in par terre, then defends in the second to advance to the quarterfinals.

R4 – df. Roman Melyoshin (KAZ), 2-1 (2-0, 0-1, 3-0)
Kanakubo turns the 2006 Asian Games champion from a front headlock position in the first period, then gives up a lift in par terre in the second. In the third period, Kanakubo strikes quickly with an arm throw for three points and makes it stand for the win.

SF – lost to Arsen Julfalakyan (ARM), 0-2 (0-4, 0-1)
Kanakubo drops the first period to the 2009 European champion on a pair of gut wrenches, then allows Julfalakyan to escape from par terre in the second.

F3 – lost to Daniyar Kobonov (KGZ), 0-2 (0-1, 0-1)
Kanakubo could not find the key to unlock the tight defense of the two-time Asia champion. Kobonov whipped Kanakubo out of bounds in the first period, then escaped from down in par terre in the second and killed the remaining 20 seconds for the win.

Women's freestyle
48kg – SAKAMOTO, Hitomi (1st, 25 entries)
R1 – df. Ingrid Medrano Cuellar (ESA) by fall, 1P=1:10 (F9-0)
Sakamoto opens with snap down to single-leg combination and adds a quick gut wrench. She takes a second single-leg to the back and presses for the fall.

R2 – df. Khrystyna Daranutsa (UKR) by fall, 1P=1:16 (F6-4)
Daranutsa trips Sakamoto to her back for a nearfall and a 4-0 lead, but the 29-year-old veteran scrambles on top for a point. Back on her feet, Sakamoto picks up the pace, scores with a clean single-leg before applying an arm bar for the fall.

R3 – df. Carol Huynh (CAN), 2-0 (2-0, 3-0)
Sakamoto scores off the Olympic champion's leg attacks, spinning around for a handful of go-behind points.

SF – df. Iwona Matkowska (POL), 2-0 (4-0, 1-0)
Sakamoto scores back points after a double-leg takedown for the first period. In the second, Sakamoto spins behind for a point and makes it stand for the win against the 2006 world bronze medalist.

F1 – df. Lorisa Oorzhak (RUS), 2-1 (1-2, 1-0, 6-0=1:52)
Sakamoto comes out attacking, but Oorzhak slows the action down with hand control. Oorzhak takes the first period when she runs over Sakamoto's takedown shot. Sakamoto answers in the second period with a shuck to go-behind, then fights off a front headlock to hold onto the second period.
In the third period, Sakamoto hits a clean double-leg that takes Oorzhak to her back for two points and a nearfall point. Oorzhak attempts to come from behind with a front headlock, but Sakamoto catches on her back for three points and the technical fall.

51kg – HORIUCHI, Yu (2nd, 20 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Sofia Mattsson (SWE), 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 1-0)
Mattsson scores a late single for the first period and Horiuchi answers with a double-leg elevator in the second. In the third, Horiuchi comes again with a double, changes to a single and forces the defending champion out of bounds. A challenge from the Swedish coaches is rejected, giving Horiuchi a second point.

R3 – df. Anzhela Dorogan (AZE), 2-0 (5-0, 2-0)
Horiuchi scores with a single-leg and nearfall in the first period, then scores late in the second against last year's European junior runner-up.

SF – df. Roksana Zasina (POL), 2-0 (1-0, 3-0)
Horiuchi has to work hard for a point off a single-leg in the first period. She seals her place in the final with a late single-leg and gut wrench.

F1 – lost to Oleksandra Kohut (UKR), 0-2 (0-1=2:09, 0-2=2:11)
Both periods see little action and go to the clinch -- with Kohut winning both draws. Kohut drops the junior world champ to her bottom for the first period, then lifts Horiuchi and drops her to the mat for the second.
It appeared briefly that Horiuchi had gone behind in the second, but a video replay showed the world meet newcomer touched her head on the mat, ending the period.

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