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


GUANGZHOU, China (August 26) – Saori Yoshida won the gold medal for a third straight Asian Games as the curtain came down on the wrestling competition with medals awarded three women's wrestling categories.

Yoshida notched four wins without giving up a point at Huagong Gymnasium and grabbed the 55kg crown with a 5-0, 1-0 win over Zhang Lan (CHN), the 67kg runner-up at the world championships in September. The only other Japanese wrestler to win gold medals at three straight Asian Games is Yutaka Kaneko, who won the 73kg title at the 1954 Manila Games, the 1958 Tokyo Games and the 78kg gold medals in freestyle and greco-roman at the 1962 Jakarta Games.

Yoshida is also the only other woman to win a gold medal for Japan in an individual event in three straight Asian Games since Satoko Tanaka won the women's 100-meter backstroke in swimming from 1958 to 1966.

Meanwhile, on the final day of wrestling in Guanzhou, Kyoko Hamaguchi won her third straight medal at the Asian Games with a bronze medal at 72kg. Hamaguchi was the gold medalist at the 2002 Busan (Korea) Games and silver medalist four years ago in Doha.
Two-time world champ Mio Nishimaki, who had been a gold medal favorite, however, could not get on track at 63kg, losing two matches by fall and settling for seventh place overall.


Women's freestyle
55kg – YOSHIDA, Saori (Gold, 11 entries)
R1 – df. Batbaatar Nominerdene (MGL), 2-0 (4-0, 5-0)
Yoshida appears a little tight at the beginning but scores with her signature double-leg takedown at 0:38 and then follows with another takedown and go-behind from a headlock to take the first period. Yoshida opens up against the young Batbaatar with a double-leg and gut wrench in the second, then adds single points for the win.

R2 – df. Liliya Shakirova (UZB), 2-0 (1-0, 7-0=1:04)
Yoshida begins slowly against the Asia junior bronze medal winner, but gets a point with single-leg takedown after a minute to take the first period. In the second, Yoshida opens up with a 3-point double-leg and holds for the nearfall. At 0:45, she counters for a point and then turns a gut wrench for the technical.
SF – df. Pak Yon-Hue (PRK) by fall, 1P=1:19 (F3-0)
Yoshida spins behind for a point midway through the first period, then turns Pak with an arm bar and presses for the fall.
F1 – df. Zhang Lan (CHN), 2-0 (5-0, 1-0)
Yoshida opens with a single-leg to force-out and repeats the same attack in the first 45 seconds. Midway through the period, she breaks out of arm control for a takedown and nearfall. A late single-leg makes in 5-0. In the second, Zhang tightens up her defense, but Yoshida scores with an arm overhook and throw midway through the period for the deciding point.

63kg – NISHIMAKI, Mio (7th, 11 entries)
R1 – df. Sothavy Try (CAM), 2-0 (3-0, 5-0)
Nishimaki ducks out of her opponents front headlock for a point then adds a pair of go-behinds in the second minute to take the first period. In the second, Try continues her attack but Nishimaki spins behind for a handful of points and then turns for exposure and the win.

R2 – lost to Ochirbat Nasanburmaa (MGL) by fall, 1P=1:35 (F0-4)
Ochirbat, a bronze medalist at the 2008 worlds, spins behind Nishimaki 40 seconds into the match, takes the bar arm and cranks the 2008-2009 world champ over for the fall.
r1 – lost to Chen Meng (CHN) by fall, 1P=0:19 (F0-4)
Nishimaki opens with a quick leg attack, but Chen, the 67kg Asia champion in 2007, counters with a front headlock and turns it into a victory by fall.
72kg – HAMAGUCHI, Kyoko (Bronze, 8 entries)
R1 – df. Yana Panova (KGZ) by fall, 1P=0:42 (F7-0)
Hamaguchi scores with a go-behind and quick tilt with the ankle in the opening 20 seconds of the bout. She then counters the Kyrgyz veteran's leg attack with a spin-behind and wraps her up for the fall.

SF – lost to Li Dan (CHN) by fall, 1P=1:53 (F1-4)
Hamaguchi spins behind for the lead 30 seconds into the match, but about 30 seconds later, Li catches Hamaguchi's leg and drops to her back and holds for the fall. Li was a bronze medal winner at the Asian championships in May.

F3 – df. Bae Mi-Kyung (KOR) by fall, 2P=1:40 (4-0, F6-0)
Hamaguchi scores go-behind points from four different situations in the first period, then continues with snap-downs and counters in the second until she has a chance for a double-leg takedown to the back and fall.

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