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


GUANGZHOU, China (November 24) – Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu defeated 2009 world champion Mehdi Taghavi Kermani (IRI) and claimed Japan's first gold medal in men's freestyle in 16 years at the Asian Games in Guangzhou.

In an intense and tactical battle, Yonemitsu, a 2009 bronze medalist, edged Taghavi Kermani 1-0, 2-0 in the 66kg final at Huagong Gymnasium for Japan's first gold since Takahiro Wada won the 62kg crown at the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima.

Also on the second day of men's freestyle, veteran Kazuyuki Nagashima advanced to his first gold medal final in international competition at 74kg, but could not get past the solid positioning and tight defense of world runner-up Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi (IRI).
Although he had to settle for a silver medal, Nagashima earned his highest finish in an international competition since finishing second at the Asia junior championships in 2000. Nagashima was the bronze medalist at the 2008 Asian senior meet.

At 84kg, Atsushi Matsumoto lost a pair of clinches and was unable to advance beyong the first round.

66kg – YONEMITSU, Tatsuhiro (Gold, 16 entries)
R1 – df. Azat Donbaev (KGZ), 2-0 (2-1, 1-0)
Yonemitsu gives up a go-behind in the first 30 seconds, but rallies with a double-leg takedown and ankle turn in the last minute to take the first period. In the second, Yonemitsu makes a single-leg takedown at 0:48 stand for the win against the 2008 Asia junior bronze medalist.

R2 – df. Pradeep Kumar (IND), 2-0 (3-0, 3-0)
Yonemitsu takes a single-leg early, then gets exposure off another takedown attempt late in the first period. In the second, Yonemitsu takes the South Asia champion down at 0:52 and then adds two more points on a pair of gut wrenches.

SF – df. Yang Chun-Song (PRK), 2-1 (0-1, 3-0, 2-0)
Yonemitsu gets taken down with five seconds remaining in the first period, but rebounds with a 3-point double-leg in the second.
In the third period, Yonemitsu scores from a duck-under 30 seconds into the period, then adds another takedown with 30 seconds remaining for the win against the 2009 Asia bronze medalist.

F1 – df. Mehdi Taghavi Kermani (IRI), 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)
Yonemitsu and Taghavi battle for tie-up control through most of the first period with Yonemitsu getting in on a single-leg and scoring at 1:41. In the second period, Yonemitsu scores a takedown midway through the stanza and adds an insurance point 15 seconds from time with a go-behind for the gold medal.

74kg – NAGASHIMA, Kazuyuki (Silver, 15 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Mazen Kdmane (SYR), 2-0 (6-0, 4-0)
Nagashima drops Kdmane with an arm throw and holds for the nearfall in the first period, and counters for points in the second.

SF – df. Dorjvaanchig Gombodorj (MGL), 2-1(2-3, 2-0, 6-2)
Nagashima is dropped to his back on a double-leg for three points in the first period, but storms back with a one-point caution against his opponent and another takedown for the second.
In the third period, Nagashima counters a takedown attempt with a front headlock and exposure ina 3-2 exchange. Nagashima counters again in the final 30 seconds for a nearfall and the win.

F1 – lost to Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi (IRI), 0-2 (0-1, 0-3)
Nagashima gets caught by the world runner-up for a takedown at 1:20 of the first period, then is snapped down for a go-behind point and a gut wrench.

84kg – MATSUMOTO, Atsushi (8th, 11 entries)
R1 – lost to Muhammad Inam (PAK), 1-2 (0-1=2:06, 2-0, 0-2=2:05)
Matsumoto gets taken down from the clinch in the first, but levels the match with a counter and single-leg takedown in the second.
In the third period, Matsumoto keeps the pressure on the Commonwealth Games champion for two minutes but cannot score. Matsumoto attempts to counter the leg attack, but in driven to his back.
Matsumoto was eliminated from medal contention when Inam lost in the quarterfinals.

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