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


TOKYO (December 21) – Asian Games gold medalist Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu reclaimed the national title at 66kg in men's freestyle as the All-Japan National Championship Meet got under way at Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo. Altogether with Yonemitsu, four of the seven champions crowned on the opening day of the championships regained titles they had won in 2008 and then let slip away last year.

Yonemitsu, who won the Asian Games gold medal a month ago, edged 2006 Asian Games silver medalist Takafumi Kojima in the 66kg final. The first two periods went to the clinch and the third period was decided in a late scramble from Yonemitsu's single-leg attack. “I don't like to rely on the ball pickup in my wrestling, but that's the way my semifinal and final matches went today,” said Yonemitsu, who was a bronze medalist at the 2009 world championships.

Also in men's freestyle, Shinichi Yumoto broke open a close match with Olympic silver medalist Tomohiro Matsunaga to win the 55kg crown going away. Earlier, Matsunaga defeated world bronze medalist Yasuhiro Inaba in the semifinals. “It was painful not being able to wrestle in the world championships or Asian Games this year, so the only left for me was to win the All-Japan title,” said Yumoto, the 55kg champion at the Asian championships in May.

At 120kg, Nobuyoshi Arakida returned to the top of the medals podium after one year with a win over 2008 Asia junior runner-up Yuto Aizawa.

In greco-roman, Katsuya Kitamura won this third straight title at 96kg, but collegiate champion Taichi Oka unseated two-time defending champion Norikatsu Saikawa for the crown at 84kg.

In women's freestyle, Takako Saito upset world bronze medalist Ayako Shoda in the semifinals then edged Japan Self-Defense Forces teammate Kayoko Shimada for her first All-Japan triumph at 59kg. Yoshiko Inoue, meanwhile, breezed into the 67kg finals with victories by fall and technical superiority and then weathered a stiff challenge from 2009 Asia cadet champion Sara Dosha for her third overall national championship crown.

Men's freestyle
55kg (17 entries)
F1 – Shinichi Yumoto df. Tomohiro Matsunaga, 2-0 (1-0=2:05, 6-0=1:23)
SF – Matsunaga df. Yasuhiro Inaba, 2-0 (4-1, 5-2)
SF – Yumoto df. Yasuhiro Morita, 2-0 (1-0, 4-0)
(Yumoto wins 2nd All-Japan title, first since 2008)

66kg (19 entries)
F1 – Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu df. Takafumi Kojima, 2-1 (0-2=2:16, 3-0=2:07, 1-0)
SF – Yonemitsu df. Kohei Fujimoto, 2-1 (0-3, 1-0, 3-1)
SF – Kojima df. Kazuhiko Ikematsu, 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)
(Yonemitsu wins 2nd All-Japan title, first since 2008)

120kg (13 entries)
F1 – Nobuyoshi Arakida df. Yuto Aizawa, 2-0 (4-0, 5-3)
SF – Arakida df. Yutaro Baba by fall, 2P=0:28 (7-0=1:03, F ?-?)
SF – Aizawa df. Norihiro Sakurai, 2-1 (1-0=2:04, 0-1=2:03, 1-0)
(Arakida wins 2nd All-Japan title, first since 2008)

84kg (12 entries)
F1 – Taichi Oka df. Norikatsu Saikawa, 2-0 (3-0, 4-0)
SF – Saikawa df. Ryo Ito, 2-0 (2-0, 1-0)
SF – Oka df. Shinnosuke Omagari, 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)
(Oka wins 1st All-Japan title)

96kg (16 entries)
F1 – Katsuya Kitamura df. Takuma Arizono, 2-0 (4-0, 1-0)
SF – Kitamura df. Takahiro Mori, 2-1 (0-1, 2-0, 1-0)
SF – Arizono df. Yuji Yamamoto, 2-0 (3-0, 1-0)
(Kitamura wins 3rd straight All-Japan title)

Women's freestyle
59kg (13 entries)
F1 – Takako Saito df. Kayoko Shimada, 2-0 (1-0=2:21, 1-0)
SF – Saito df. Ayako Shodo, 2-1 (1-0, 0-1=2:06, 2-0)
SF – Shimada df. Yurika Ito, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
(Saito wins 1st All-Japan title)

67kg (10 entries)
F1 – Yoshiko Inoue df. Sara Dosha, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
SF – Inoue df. Chihiro Hashimoto, 2-0 (6-0=0:45, 7-0=0:53)
SF – Dosha df. Chiaki Iijima, 2-1 (3-0, 0-3=2:03, 3-0)
(Inoue wins 3rd All-Japan title, first since 2008)

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