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


GUANGZHOU, China (November 22) – Bronze collector Tsukasa Tsurumaki finally broke through his personal ceiling of third-place finishes in international competition but had to settle for a silver medal on the second day of greco-roman wrestling competition at the 16th Asian Games.

Tsurumaki's silver medal, a personal best after seven bronze medals in previous international meets, was Japan's fourth of the greco-roman competition – improving on the three greco medals Japanese wrestlers won in Doha four years ago. Tsurumaki kicked off the day at Huagong Gymnasium with a come-from-behind win over 2009 world No. 3 Farshad Alizadeh Kalehkesh (IRI) and then advanced to his first-ever gold medal final in an international meet when he defeated 2009 junior world champ Azizbek Murodov (UZB) in the semis.

In the final, however, Tsurumaki did not have an answer for Daniyar Kobonov (KGZ), a bronze medalist at this year's world championships in Moscow, and has to settle for the silver medal. Kobonov, with his gold, now has a complete set of medals from the Asian Games following a silver at the 2002 Busan Games and a bronze four years ago in Doha.

Meanwhile, Japan's other entries on the second day – Norikatsu Saikawa (84kg) and Katsuya Kitamura (96kg) – both lost in the early rounds to opponents from Kyrgyzstan and were later eliminated from medal contention.

Saikawa, who won the silver medal at the Asian championships in May, fell to Janarbek Kenjeev (KGZ) in the first round – a reversal of their opening round match in May. Kenjeev went on to claim his second Asian Games bronze.
Kitamura, meanwhile, posted a first round victory, but lost in the quarterfinals to Azamat Erkinbaev (KGZ) and had to settle for seventh place overall.


74kg – TSURUMAKI, Tsukasa (Silver, 13 entries)
R1 – df. Farshad Alizadeh Kalehkesh (IRI), 2-1 ( 3-0, 0-2. 3-1)
Tsurumaki scores with a low lift to nearfall for two points in the final 10 seconds of par terre with a rejected challenge from Iran making it 3-0. The 2009 world bronze medalist answers back with a gut wrench in the second period. In the third period, Tsurumaki elects to defend but gives up a gut wrench after only 10 seconds. He comes back with a desperation arm throw at 1:54 for three points and the win.

R2 – df. Daler Karimov (TJK), 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)
The referee hits Tsurumaki with a leg penalty in par terre defense in the first period, but the chairman waves it off as Tsurumaki takes the first period 1-0. Tsurumaki takes the second with a force-out and a point in par terre.

SF – df. Azizbek Murodov (UZB), 2-1 (0-3, 2-0, 1-0)
In a match decided in par terre, Tsurumaki gives up a pair of gut wrenches in the first period to Murodov, but evens that match with a wrench of his own in the second. In the third period, Murodov elected to take the attack position for the final 30 seconds, but Tsurumaki quickly escaped from down and ran out the clock for the win.

F1 – lost to Daniyar Kobonov (KGZ), 0-2 (0-1, 0-5)
After a scoreless 90 seconds on the feet, Tsurumaki has the advantage in par terre, but Kobonov escapes and runs out the clock to take the first period.. In the second, Kobonov starts par terre with a reverse waistlock and moves to the front headlock position for two turns, 0-4. The Japanese corner argues that Tsurumaki should have received nearfall points, but the challenge is rejected.

84kg – SAIKAWA, Norikatsu (11th, 14 entries)
R1 – lost to Janarbek Kenjeev (KGZ), 0-2 (0-3, 0-3)
Saikawa, who defeated Kenjeev in the first match of the Asian championships in May, gives up a go-behind and gut wrench in the first period and is hit with two more gut wrenches in the second. Saikawa is eliminated from medal contention when Kenjeev loses in the quarterfinals.

96kg – KITAMURA, Katsuya (7th, 12 entries)
R1 – df. Arslan Sparamamedov (TKM), 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 1-0)
Kitamura tries to gut wrench in first period par terre, but cannot score. In the second, Kitamura forces the junior world entrant out to even the period count. In the third period, Kitamura forces his opponent out from behind and makes it stand for the win.

R2 – lost to Azamat Erkinbaev (KGZ), 0-2 (0-1, 0-3)
Kitamura cannot score on the attack in par terre and drops the first period. In the second, Erkinbaev, the 2006 Asia junior silver medalist, hits a headlock early for three points and makes it stand for the win. Kitamura is eliminated from medal contention when Erkinbaev loses in the semifinals.

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