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


GUANGZHOU, China (November 21) – Kohei Hasegawa defeated five-time world champion Hamid Soryan (IRI) in the semifinals and went on to claim the first gold medal of the wrestling competition at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.

Hasegawa edged Soryan with a defensive point in the third period of the 55kg semifinals at Huagong Gymnasium and then pinned 2009 junior world bronze medalist Kanybek Zholchubekov (KGZ) to win the first greco-roman gold of this 16th edition of Asia's version of the Olympic Games. Meanwhile, Japan's other two entries on the first day of wrestling competition, Ryutaro Matsumoto and Tsutomu Fujimura each claimed bronze medals.

Hasegawa's gold medal at 55kg was Japan's first in greco-roman at wrestling's lightest weight category for men and ensured Japan of at least one gold for a third straight Asian Games. Shingo Matsumoto struck gold at 84kg in 2002 and Makoto Sasamoto triumphed at 60kg four years ago. The gold medal was also Hasegawa's third in a major international competition after winning the Asian championship title and the Golden Grand Prix final in 2009.

At 60kg, world silver medalist Ryutaro Matsumoto rebounded from a first round loss to World Cup individual champion and eventual gold medalist Omid Norodzhi (IRI) to take the bronze medal with a pair of 2-1 wins in repechage.

At 66kg, Fujimura defeated reigning Asia champion Kim Hyeon-Woo (KOR) but fell in the semis to the 2009 Asia champ Darkhan Bayakhmetov (KAZ). But a win over this year's junior world runner-up Besiki Saldadze (UZB) gave Fujimura the bronze.


55kg – HASEGAWA, Kohei (Gold, 15 entries)
R1 – df. Marat Karishalov (KAZ), 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)
Both periods are decided in par terre. Hasegawa defends for a point in the first period, then gut wrenches for two in the second.

R2 – df. Kritsada Kongsrichai (THA) by TF, 2-0 (6-0=1:04, 6-0=1:05)
Hasegawa hits three arm throws and body tackle against the former Asian cadet bronze medalist for the technical fall.

SF – df. Hamid Soryan (IRI), 2-1 (1-0, 0-2, 1-0)
Each of the periods came down to par terre with Hasegawa taking the first on a gut wrench, and Soryan grabbing the second with gut wrench in the closing seconds.
In the third period, Soryan elected to attack in par terre, but Hasegawa fought off the world champ's gut wrench attempts for the win.

F1 – df. Kanybek Zholchubekov (KGZ) by fall, 2P=1:26 (2-0, F7-0)
Hasegawa stood up to escape to start the par terre 30 seconds and dropped the junior world bronze medalist for two points to take the first period. In the second, Hasegawa countered an early attack for three points and then finished the match with an arm throw which he pressed for the fall.

60kg – MATSUMOTO, Ryutaro (Bronze, 12 entries)
R1 – lost to Omid Noroodzi (IRI), 0-2 (0-6=1:51, 0-2)
Matsumoto loses a point on a late arm throw and a second on a Japanese challenge. Matsumoto hits a side-roll from par terre, but the World Cup champ is awarded two points for a gut wrench. A second gut wrench ends the period. Noroodzi takes the second period and match with a gut wrench at 1:57.

r1 – df. Xie Zhan (CHN), 2-1 (0-6=0:51, 1x-1=last, 3-0)
Matsumoto is blitzed in the first period with a go-behind, lift and throw and a gut wrench by Xie, a 10th-place finisher in the 2008 Asian championships. The world silver medalist then gave up a point on a force-out 24 seconds into the second period, but scored his own force-out late to even the period score 1-1.
In the third period, Matsumoto got another force-out at 27 seconds and then countered his opponents attack for two more points and the win.

F3 – df. Sanjarbek Jumashev (UZB), 2-1 (0-3, 3-2, 2-0)
Matsumoto was thrown midway through the first period for a point and then lost two more on a failed counter. In a seesaw second, Matsumoto took a 2-0 lead on a pair of force-outs, but then gave up a force-out point and a takedown before getting behind for a third point.
In the third period, Matsumoto forced his opponent out twice in the first 40 seconds and held on for the win.

66kg – FUJIMURA, Tsutomu (Bronze, 12 entries)
R1 – df. Zheng Pan (CHN), 2-0 (2-0, 4-0)
Fujimura takes the first period from par terre when he lands on top of Zheng's lift and throw attempt. In the second, Fujimura scores with a hip toss and nearfall for the win.

R2 – df. Kim Hyeon-Woo (KOR), 2-0 (2-1, 2-0)
Fujimura gives up a point in par terre Kim's lift, but gets exposure when the reigning Asia champ tries a second lift and counters with a body attack to nearfall. In the second period, Fujimura scores with a gut wrench at the final whistle for the win.

SF – lost to Darkhan Bayakhmetov (KAZ), 0-2 (0-1, 0-3)
Fujimura appears to score a gut wrench as time runs out in the first period, but a challenge from the Kazakh corner reverses the call, giving the period to Bayakhmetov. In the second, Fujimura gets thrown midway through the period for three points.

F3 – df. Besiki Saldadze (UZB), 2-1 (0-2, 3-0, 1-0)
Fujimura gives up the first period on a gut wrench in par terre, but takes the second on a hip toss and near fall.
In the third, Fujimura elects to defend in par terre and holds off the junior world runner-up for the bronze medal.

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