ASTANA (March 18) – Shinobu OTA stunned greco-roman great Hamid SORYAN (IRI) in the opening round of the Rio 2016 Asian qualifying tournament to lead the charge as three Japanese wrestlers booked berths at the Olympic Games in August.
At the same time, 2014 world silver medalist Sosuke TAKATANI and newly minted national champion Rei HIGUCHI booked Rio 2016 berths in freestyle at 74kg and 57kg, respectively.
Ota got the ball rolling for the Japanese squad with a stunning victory over six-time world champion Soryan, overcoming a four-point deficit for a 7-4 win in their preliminary bout at 59kg.
The 22-year-old Nippon Sports Sciences University student, then, secured his ticket to Rio 2016 with a technical fall victory over world No.7 KIM Seung-Hak (KOR) in the semifinals, before falling to Paris Grand Prix runner-up WANG Lumin (CHN) in the final.
Ota’s NSSU teammate, Higuchi, also, stormed through the field with a pair of technical falls to secure a Rio 2016 berth at 57kg in freestyle, capping his day with a 4-1 win over Asian Games bronze medal winner YUN Jun-Sik (KOR).
Takatani, meanwhile, stopped Asian Games champion Rashid KURBANOV (UZB), 4-2, in the semifinals at 74kg to punch his ticket for his second Olympic Games in a row. Takatani, who had been wrestling on an injured right knee, defaulted in the final to Galimzhan USERBAYEV (KAZ).
Japan’s fourth entry on the day, Taichi OKA opened at 85kg in greco-roman with a win against Asian Games silver medalist LEE Se-Yeol (KOR) but dropped his next two bouts to finish in fifth place.
Results of bouts involving Japanese entries:
57kg – HIGUCHI, Rei (1st, 8 entries)
R1 – df. Berdi ATABAYEV (TKM) by TF, 10-0, 1:01
SF – df. Rahul AWARE (IND) by TF, 10-0, 1:09
F1 – df. YUN Jun-Sik (KOR), 4-0
74kg – TAKATANI, Sosuke (2nd, 10 entries)
R1 – df. LEE Yeon-Seok (KOR), 8-3
R2 – df. Dauletmurat ORAZYLOV (TKM) by TF, 16-6, 3:55
SF – df. Rashid KURBANOV (UZB), 4-2
F1 – lost to Galimzhan USERBAEV (KAZ) by Injury Default, 0:25 (0-1)
59kg – OTA, Shinobu (2nd, 10 entries)
R1 – df. Hamid SORYAN (IRI), 7-4
R2 – df. Firuz TUKHTAEV (UZB), 8-4
SF – df. KIM Seung-Hak (KOR) by TF, 10-2, 5:36
F1 – lost to WANG Lumin (CHN), 7-9
85kg – OKA, Taichi (5th, 8 entries)
R1 – df. LEE Se-Yeol (KOR), 3-1
SF – lost to Yanarbek KENYEEV (KGZ) by TF, 0-8, 1:41
F3 – lost to Ravinder KHATRI (IND), 1-6