TOKYO (December 22) – Sydney 2000 silver medalist Katsuhiko NAGATA laced up the shoes for the first time in more than a decade and won the 71kg greco-roman crown on the second day of the All-Japan wrestling championships.
The 42-year-old Nagata became the oldest wrestler to win a title at the All-Japan nationals, eclipsing “Iron Man” Yasutoshi MORIYAMA who was 38 when he won his 14th national title at 90kg in 1995.
The victory was Nagata’s seventh All-Japan crown overall and his first since 2002. Prior to this year, the Sydney silver medalist at 69kg last wrestled in the national championships in 2004.
Meanwhile, in the women’s events, three-time Olympic Games gold medalist Kaori ICHO (58kg) won her 12th All-Japan title while world bronze medalist Sara DOSHO (69kg) was victorious at Yoyogi National Gymnasium for the fifth year in a row.
The victories virtually assured Icho and Dosho a berth on the Japanese squad for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, pending approval of the Japanese Olympic Committee.
In greco-roman, London 2012 Olympian Norikatsu SAIKAWA won his fifth straight title at 98kg and seventh overall All-Japan crown. Saikawa, however, will have to qualify for Rio 2016 at the Asian qualification meet in Kazakhstan in March.
Also in the classic style, 2013 junior world bronze medalist Shohei YABIKU hammered out a 3-0 win over Asian Games silver medalist Tsukasa TSURUMAKI at 75kg for his first All-Japan crown while Asian bronze medal winner Taichi OKA repeated as champion at 85kg.
In freestyle, junior national champ Taiki YAMAMOTO edged defending champ Nobuyoshi ARAKIDA, 10-10 on higher-valued techniques, in the semifinals at 125 and went on to win his first All-Japan title.
Yamamoto of Takushoku University became the second university freshman to win in this year’s meet. Keisuke OTOGURO, a first-year student at Yamanashi Gakuin University, won the 61kg crown in freestyle on the opening day.
Takeshi YAMAGUCHI (97kg) won his fourth straight title at 97kg while collegiate national champ Nobuyoshi TAKOJIMA notched his first All-Japan triumph at 70kg.
70kg (12 entries)
F1 – Nobuyoshi TAKOJIMA df. Kazuki MORIKAWA by default, 0:00
(Takojima wins 1st All-Japan title)
F3 – Momojiro NAKAMURA df. Yusuke MATSUO, 7-6
97kg (17 entries)
F1 – Takeshi YAMAGUCHI df. Koki YAMAMOTO, 6-0
(Yamaguchi wins 4th straight, 4th overall All-Japan title)
F3 – Seiji SUZUKI df. Taira SONODA, 7-6
125kg (12 entries)
F1 – Taiki YAMAMOTO df. Tetsuya TANAKA, 10-3
(Yamamoto wins 1st All-Japan title)
F3 – Nobuyoshi ARAKIDA df. Katsutoshi KANAZAWA, 4-1
71kg (10 entries)
F1 – Katsuhiko NAGATA df. Shinosuke KURANO, 7-0
(Nagata wins 7th All-Japan title, 1st in 13 years)
F3 – Takahiro YAMAMOTO df. Toshiki MORI by default, 0:00
75kg (16 entries)
F1 – Shohei YABIKU df. Tsukasa TSURUMAKI, 3-0
(Yabiku wins 1st All-Japan title)
F3 – Takehiro KANAKUBO df. Hiroyuki SHIMIZU by TF, 8-0, 2:49
85kg (14 entries)
F1 – Taichi OKA df. Masato SUMI, 4-2
(Oka wins 2nd straight, 4th overall All-Japan title)
F3 – Masayuji AMANO df. Yuya OKAJIMA, 10-4
98kg (17 entries)
F1 – Norikatsu SAIKAWA df. Yasuhiro YONEHIRA by fall, 2:03 (3-0)
(Saikawa wins 5th straight, 7th overall All-Japan title)
F3 – Yuta NARA df. Yusuke YAMAMOTO by fall, 1:38 (6-0)
58kg (5 entries)
F1 – Kaori ICHO df. Nachi MASUDA by fall, 1:13 (4-0)
(Icho wins 3rd straight, 12th overall All-Japan title)
F3 – Mikako HIGUCHI df. Yuumi KON by TF, 12-1, 5:15
69kg (6 entries)
F1 – Sara DOSHO df. Kasumi UTADA by TF, 11-0, 4:33
(Dosho wins 5th straight, 5th overall All-Japan title)
F3 – Miwa MORI df. Tamae YOSHII, 4-0