TOKYO (December 21) – Veteran world team members Shogo MAEDA (65kg) and Shinya MATSUMOTO (86kg) snared their first titles since 2012 on the opening day of the All-Japan national wrestling championships.
Maeda and Matsumoto held on for wins against younger challengers at Yoyogi National Gymnasium and now set their sights on qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games wrestling competition.
Meanwhile, world silver medalist Risako KAWAI overwhelmed younger sister Yukako KAWAI in the 60kg final with a technical fall to virtually secure a ticket for Rio 2016 as Japan’s 63kg entry in women’s wrestling.
In greco-roman, Tomohiro INOUE (66kg) and Arata SONODA (130kg) successfully defended their titles at Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo and will also get a crack at qualifying for next year's Games.
The first qualification tourney on the calendar for Japan will be the Asian qualifier in Astana, Kazakhstan, on March 18-20. The top two wrestlers in each of the 18 Olympic Games weight categories will qualify their countries for Rio 2016.
Japanese wrestlers qualified five of the six women’s weight categories at the world championships in September, but the men came up short in all 12 of their categories — freestyle and greco-roman. In the first-day finals.
Maeda scored with an early arm throw against junior world silver medalist Yuhi FUJINAMI and held on for a 6-5 victory at 65kg. Matsumoto, 31, forged a 2-0 win at 86kg over Keisuke MATSUSAKA, who had upset defending champion Atsushi MATSUMOTO in the quarterfinals.
At 61kg, Keisuke OTOGURO, a teammate of Fujinami at Yamanashi Gakuin University, wrapped up a 19-8 technical fall over collegiate national champ Shingo ARIMOTO to become the first university freshman to win an All-Japan title in the men’s events since 2001.
In the other women’s finals, Asia champion Yuki IRIE rolled to her first national title at 48kg with world champion Eri TOSAKA entered at 53kg and Ayaka ITO defeated Asia junior champ Ayana GEMPEI in the 63kg final for her second All-Japan crown and her first since taking the 59kg title in 2012.
Also in greco-roman on opening day, world team member Yuya MAEDA wrapped up the 80kg crown with a technical fall victory over 32-year-old veteran Noritomo ETO for his first All-Japan title.
61kg (17 entries)
F1 – Keisuke OTOGURO df. Shingo ARIMOTO by TF, 19-8, 4:53
(Otoguro wins 1st All-Japan title)
F3 – Ken KIKUCHI df. Kohei YOSHIKAWA, 6-4
65kg (20 entries)
F1 – Shogo MAEDA df. Yuhi FUJINAMI, 6-5
(Maeda wins 4th All-Japan title, first since 2012)
F3 – Takahiro INOUE df. Tomotsugu ISHIDA, 8-2
86kg (15 entries)
F1 – Shinya MATSUMOTO df. Masao MATSUSAKA, 2-0
(Matsumoto wins 4th All-Japan title, first since 2012)
F3 – Naoya AKAGUMA df. Takahiro MURAYAMA, 9-2
66kg (16 entries)
F1 – Tomohiro INOUE df. Shogo TAKAHASHI by TF, 8-0, 2:07
(Inoue wins 2nd straight, 2nd overall All-Japan title)
F3 – Tsuchika SHIMOYAMADA df. Kazuhiro HANAYAMA by default, 1:10 (6-0)
80kg (11 entries)
F1 – Yuya MAEDA df. Noritomo ETO by TF, 9-0, 5:17
(Maeda wins 1st All-Japan title)
F3 – Takahiro TSURUTA df. Keisuke AZUMA, 5-0
130kg (10 entries)
F1 – Arata SONODA df. Hirotake TSUDA by TF, 12-3, 4:09
(Sonoda wins 2nd straight, 2nd overall All-Japan title)
F3 – Ryuta KONO df. Hiromi SHIGYO by fall, 0:36 (4-0)
48kg (11 entries)
F1 – Yuki IRIE df. Yui SUSAKI by TF, 10-0, 4:04
(Irie wins 1st All-Japan title)
F3 – Miho IGARASHI df. Kika KAGATA, 11-4
60kg (8 entries)
F1 – Risako KAWAI df. Yukako KAWAI by TF, 10-0, 2:51
(R. Kawai wins 1st All-Japan title)
F3 – Yui SAKANO df. Yoshimi KAYAMA, 3-1
63kg (6 entries)
F1 – Ayaka ITO df. Ayana GEMPEI, 4-0
(Ito wins 2nd All-Japan title, 1st since 2012)
F3 – Kanako MURATA df. Misuzu TAKAHASHI by TF, 12-0, 5:59