By William May
(Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information


TOKYO (February 17) – Olympic champion Kaori Icho (photo) and bronze medalist Kyoko Hamaguchi are set to return to action for the women's national team after more than a year's absence when Japan takes to the mats for the World Cup meet March 27-28 in Nanjing, China.

Icho (63kg) and Hamaguchi (72kg) took an extended break from the demands of participation on the national team after the Beijing Olympics and 2008 world championships. Hamaguchi returned to international competition in Poland last summer, but will be wrestling on the national team for the first time since October 2008.

The Japanese squad will also include former four-time world champion Ayako Shoda (59kg), world bronze medalist Yuri Kai (51kg), world silver medalist Mami Shinkai (67kg), junior world champion Fuyuko Mimura (48kg) and Asia champion Chikako Matsukawa (55kg).

The women's World Cup meet was first held in 2001 with Japan taking five of the first six championships. The Japanese, however, have had to settle for second place and a pair of third-place finishes since 2006 while China has taken three crowns in a row.

In addition to Japan and China, the eight-team field for this year's event includes Azerbaijan, Canada, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine and the United States.


TOKYO (February 6-10) – Four former world champions, accounting for 20 individual world titles and four Olympic medals before taking extended breaks from the national team, joined Japan's first training camp of the year for women. Forty of Japan's top female wrestlers, including former world champs Kyoko Hamaguchi, Kaori Icho, Hitomi Sakamoto and Seiko Yamamoto, gathered at the national training center in Tokyo for the camp.

The February start marked the earliest date yet in which the Japanese women have kicked off their annual drive for the world championships – and this year, the Asian Games.

“We have never started with a national team training camp in February before,” said team captain Saori Yoshida. “But, the level of women's wrestling throughout the world is getting better, so we have to get an early start like this.”

Two-time Olympic champion Icho made her first appearance at a national team camp in 18 months, looking excited as she caught her breath and said “Practicing with so many wrestlers again is nice. I feel great and I hope I can help lead the team.”

Meanwhile, Yamamoto, who won at the prestigious Yarygin tourney in January at 63kg, continued with her quest to make the Japanese team for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. “I'm happy to be able to be wrestling with so many good wrestlers around. And, I'm happy I can make this challenge,” said Yamamoto, who will have to unseat reigning world champion Mio Nishimaki and Icho for a chance to wrestle in London.

Sakamoto, who decided to revive her competitive career after the national championships in December, said she was “nervous” about returning to the mats as a wrestler after serving as a coach in 2009. “My heart was pounding like I was in competition again,” Sakamoto said after a few rounds of sparring. “As a wrestler, I'm happy to have the chance to try for the Olympics.”

Sakamoto won her sixth world title at 51kg in 2008 before retiring, but decided to take one last shot at the Olympics at 48kg after an Olympic bid at 55kg came up short in 2007.

Two-time Olympic bronze medalist Hamaguchi missed the first few days of the training camp with an upset stomach, but joined midway through the camp after receiving the doctor's go-ahead
. (photo) “(Hamaguchi) was scheduled to sit out the entire camp, but we are pleased she has decided to join us for even a few days,” said women's national team director Kazuhito Sakae. “It really shows her determination.”

“I'm happy to be taking part in the national team training camp. And, I will do my best to improve my conditioning and technique even a little,” Hamaguchi sai.

This year's squad will get their first test at the World Cup meet March 27-28 in Nanjing, China. They will then to look the world team trials April 20 in Tokyo before the world championships in Moscow in September and the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in November.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (February 4-5) – Shinichi Yumoto posted four convincing wins, including a 2-0 triumph over Asia champion Kim Hyo-Sub (KOR), to take the 55kg crown in men's freestyle at the Dave Schultz memorial wrestling tournament.

Also in freestyle, Tokyo police officers Kohei Fujimoto (66kg) and Shinya Matsumoto (84kg) each advanced to the bronze medal matches after early losses, but had to settle for fourth-place finishes.

Olympic bronze medalist Kenichi Yumoto, wrestling in his first international competition since Beijing, reversed an early fall to India's Rahul Mann with a fall of his own in the consolation bracket on his way to a fifth-place finish at 60kg.

With Yumoto's win, Japan scored 14 team points and finished fourth overall in the team rankings in men's freestyle.

In greco-roman, Ryutaro Matsumoto grabbed second place at 60kg behind Athens Olympic champion Jung Ji-Hyun (KOR) and Kohei Hasegawa had to settle for third at 55kg after a loss to Aleksandr Kostadinov (BUL). Hasegawa avenged the loss in the third-place match with a fall over the former junior world champion.

Meanwhile, veteran Makoto Sasmoto fell to Jung in the second round at 60kg and had to settle for fourth place as Japan took fifth place overall in the team rankings with 14 points.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (January 30) – Japan notched three wins against a single loss and took second place in the Kit Carson Cup greco-roman dual meet event, a warm-up to the Dave Schultz memorial wrestling tourney

▼Previous page
Page Top ▲

ホームページ テンプレート フリー

Design by