TASHKENT (May21) – Japan won three out of four women's categories on offer to claim the team title on the third day of the Asian wrestling championships.
Takako Saito (59kg), Kaori Icho (63kg) and Yoshiko Inoue (67kg) notched a total of six falls on the final day of women's events and Kyoko Hamaguchi ensured Japan the team title with a bronze medal at 72kg.
Japan won with four champions, including Chikako Matsukawa (55kg) on the previous day, and two bronze medals from Hamaguchi and high school star Hikari Sugawara (51kg).
China, which had two champions on the first day of women's events, finished second with 56 points followed by Mongolia with three runners-up and three bronze medalists for 55 points.
Former judoka Saito, in her sixth year in a wrestling singlet, sparked the Japanese gold rush with a 2-1 win over Liu Gui (CHN), coming from behind back exposure in the final seconds of the third period of the 59kg final.
Olympic and world champion Kaori Icho used her three matches at 63kg to experiment with some new techniques and variations as she won her fifth overall continental crown – four at the Asian championships along with the 2006 Asian Games gold.
“Before the Beijing Olympics, I was worried that I was wrestling too much and the coaches from other countries were scouting me,” Icho said after her win.
“But now I want to try new things and no matter how much other coaches scout me I'm going to keep working on developing my own wrestling.”
Meanwhile, Inoue won her first title in a major senior international event and Hamaguchi bagged a fifth straight bronze in major individual competition since winning the Asia crown in 2008.
In greco-roman, Kazuma Kuramoto posted a pair of wins but also lost two including a 1-2 decision against former world champ Dilshod Aripov (UZB) in the match for a bronze medal, and had to settle for fifth place at 60kg. Ryo Minemura, meanwhile, lost his opening match a 55kg and tumbled into eighth place.
Arsen Eraliev (KGZ), a 2008 junior world silver medalist, won the 55kg title while world bronze medal winner Almat Kebispayev (KAZ) took the 60kg class.
59kg – SAITO, Tatako (1st, 10 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Karina Aganesyan (TJK) by fall, 1P (F4-0)
SF – df. Tserenchimed Sukhee (MGL) by fall, 2P (3-0, D3-0)
F1 – df. Liu Gui (CHN), 2-1 (3-3x=big, 4-3, 2x-2=last)
63kg – ICHO, Kaori (1st, 9 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Choe Jin-Suk (KOR) by fall, 1P (F5-0)
SF – df. Sharkhuu Tumentsetseg (MGL) by fall, 2P (3-0, F5-0)
F1 – df. Kim Ran-Mi (PRK), 2-0 (8-0, 4-0)
67kg – INOUE, Yoshiko (1st, 7 entries)
R1 – df. Ayimgul Allamuratova (TJK) by fall, 1P (F6-0)
SF – df. Tatyana Zakharova (KAZ) by fall, 2P, (2-0, F3-0)
F1 – df. Tsendendorj Bayarzaya (MGL), 2-0 (1-0, 6-0)
72kg – HAMAGUCHI, Kyoko (3rd, 9 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Guzel Manyurova (KAZ), 0-2 (0-1, 0-3)
F3 – df. Preet Kaur Gursharan (IND), 2-0 (3x-3=last, 4-1)
55kg – MINEMURA, Ryo (8th, 12 entries)
R1 – lost to Lee Jung-Baik (KOR), 1-2 (0-3, 2-0, 0-1)
(Minemura eliminated from medal contention when Lee lost in semifinals)
60kg – KURAMOTO, Kazuma (5th, 13 entries)
R1 – df. Kim Nam-Il (PRK), 2-0 (4-0, 1-0)
R2 – lost to Almat Kebispayev (KAZ) by fall, 1P (F3-3)
c1 – df. Ahmad Bilal Darwish (SYR), 2-0 (3-0, 4-0)
F3 – lost to Dilshod Aripov (UZB), 1-2 (0-1, 3-0, 1-4)