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


TOKYO (May 3) – Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kaori Icho defeated Seiko Yamamoto by fall in the final of the 63kg women's event at the Meiji Nyugyo Cup All-Japan Invitational Championships to reclaim her position on the Japanese world team.

Icho, who sat out the world championships in 2008 and 2009 after winning the gold medal at the Beijing Games, claimed the national title in December and then punched her ticket to Moscow with the win over Yamamoto at Yoyogi National Gymnasium complex.

Icho, who has also won five world titles to go with her two Olympic golds, qualifed for her eighth world championships squad.

Meanwhile, Yamamoto, a four-time world champion on the comeback trail, pinned the 2008, 2009 world champion Mio Nishimaki in the semifinals at 63kg.

Also in the women's events, Saori Yoshida, also a two-time Olympic champion, booked a reservation for her eighth world meet with a win over Chikako Matsukawa at 55kg, while Kyoko Hamaguchi will be headed to her 14th world championships in September after her win at 72kg.

Hamaguchi is a two-time Olympic bronze medalist and a five-time world champion.

In the men's events, only Kohei Hasegawa was able to win his world team berth straight away with a triumph of rival Ryo Minemura in the greco-roman finals at 55kg.

The three remaining national champs – Yasuhiro Inaba (FS, 55kg), Hiroyuki Oda (FS, 60kg) and Tsukasa Tsurumaki (GR, 74kg) – each fell in the MNC competition before rebounding to win in the world team wrestle-offs.

At the end of the competition, men's freestyle world bronze medalist Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu (66kg) was named the most outstanding wrestler of the invitational.

Shogo Maeda (60kg) was picked as the outstanding wrestler in men's freestyle, Tsutomu Fujimura (66kg) the outstanding greco-roman wrestler, and Hitomi Sakamoto (48kg) in women's freestyle.

Men's freestyle

55kg (10 entries)
F1 – Shinichi Yumoto df. Yasuhiro Inaba, 2-1 (3-2, 0-2, 3-1)
SF – Yumoto df. Tomohiro Matsunaga, 2-1 (0-3, 3-0, 1x-1=caution)
SF – Inaba df. Yasuhiro Mori, 2-0 (3-0, 2-0)
(Yumoto wins MNC title 3rd straight year)

World team wrestle-off
Inaba df. Yumoto, 2-1 (0-2, 1-0, 3x-3=big)
(Inaba makes world team 1st time) 

60kg (10 entries)
F1 – Shogo Maeda df. Noriyuki Takatsuka, 2-0 (3-0, 1-0)
SF – Maeda df. Tomotsugu Ishida, 2-0 (2-0, 1x-1=caution)
SF – Takatsuka df. Kenichi Yumoto, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
(Maeda wins MNC title 2nd straight year)

World team wrestle-off
Hiroyuki Oda df. Maeda, 2-0 (3-0, 2-1)
(Oda makes world team 1st time)


55kg (10 entries)
F1 – Kohei Hasegawa df. Ryo Minemura, 2-0 (3-0, 2-0)
SF – Hasegawa df. Tomoya Murata, 2-0 (4-0, 1-0)
SF – Minemura df. Takuya Tei, 2-0 (1-0, 3-0)
(Hasegawa wins MNC title 3rd straight year, makes world team 2nd straight year)

74kg (12 entries)
F1 – Takeo Kanakubo df. Tsukasa Tsurumaki, 2-1 (1-0, 0-1, 3-0)
SF – Tsurumaki df. Tomitaka Take, 2-0 (4-0, 1-0)
SF – Kanakubo df. Kosuke Kaku, 2-0 (2-0, 1-0)
(Kanakubo wins MNC title 2nd straight year)

World team wrestle-off
Tsurumaki df. Kanakubo, 2-1 (2-0, 0-1, 3-0)
(Tsurumaki makes world team 2nd straight year, 3rd time overall)

Women's freestyle

55kg (8 entries)
F1 – Saori Yoshida df. Chikako Matsukawa by TF, 2-0 (6-0=1:33, 6-0=1:28)
SF – Yoshida df. Chiaki Arai by fall, 1P=0:35 (F4-0)
SF – Matsukawa df. Kazuki Sakagami by fall, 1P=1:17 (F5-0)
(Yoshida wins All-Japan Women's, MNC title for 9th straight year)

63kg (8 entries)
F1 – Kaori Icho df. Seiko Yamamoto by fall, 2P=1:31 (1-0, F4-0)
SF – Icho df. Kayoko Kudo by fall, 1P=0:56 (1-0, F4-0)
SF – Yamamoto df. Mio Nishimaki by fall, 2P=1:45 (2-0, F4-0)
(Icho wins All-Japan Women's, MNC title for 8th time, 1st in 6 years)

72kg (5 entries)
F1 – Kyoko Hamaguchi df. Hiroe Suzuki, 2-1 (0-1, 2-0, 1x-1=last)
SF – Hamaguchi df. Shiori Tachihikari, 2-0 (1x-1=last, 4-0)
SF – Suzuki df. Yoshiko Inoue, 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 1-0)
(Hamaguchi wins All-Japan Women's, MNC title for 12th time, 1st in 3 years)

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