TASHKENT (May 20) – Chikako Matsukawa pinned three of her four opponents to win the women's 55kg title and national team debutante Hikari Sugawara took a bronze on the second day of the Asian wrestling championships. Matsukawa, who has Asian titles in 2006 and 2009, spotted China's Yang Chen a 0-2 lead in the 55kg final at GTK Uzbekistan arena, but caught Yang with a fireman's carry for the fall and her third continental crown.
“The girl I wrestled tonight was different from the wrestler I lost to in last year's final,” Matsukawa said, referring to two-time Asian champ Yang Senlian (CHN). “China has so many strong wrestlers that no matter who comes out onto the mat you really feel the pressure,” Matsukawa said. “But, I don't want anyone to think that Japan is weak if someone other than (Olympic and world champ Saori) Yoshida is entered.”
Meanwhile, at 51kg, Sugawara of Shigakkan high school in Aichi rebounded from a one-sided loss in the semifinals to eventual champion Zhao Shasha (CHN) to take the bronze medal. Zhao was a world bronze medalist and Asia champ at 48kg last year.
Former junior world champ Fuyuko Mimura, the silver medalist to Zhao a year ago, tumbled into fifth place after losing by fall to two-time Olympian Tsgotbazar Enkhjargal(MGL) in the semifinals and to Asian Games champion So Sim-Hyang (PRK) in the match for third place.
The 48kg crown went to junior world champ Sun Yanan (CHN), giving China two titles on the opening day of the women's events.
On the final day of men's freestyle, Takahiro Shimonaka (96kg) and Nobuyoshi Arakida (120kg) both lost their opening bouts and had to settle for 10th place in their respective weight categories. Two-time Olympic champ Artur Taimazov (UZB) won his fifth overall Asia crown at 120kg and Asian Games silver medalist Kurban Kurbanov (UZB) regained the title he first won in 2008 at 96kg.
The back-to-back titles lifted host Uzbekistan to the men's freestyle team title 51-49 over Iran, while Mongolia finished third with 48 points. Japan, with Yasuhiro Inaba's silver medal at 55kg on the opening day, was ninth with 27 points.
96kg – SHIMONAKA, Takahiro (10th, 11 entries)
R1 – lost to Kim Jae-Gang (KOR), 0-2 (0-1, 0-3)
(Shimonaka eliminated from medal contention when Kim lost in semifinals)
120kg – ARAKIDA, Nobuyoshi (10th, 11 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Deng Zhiwei (CHN), 0-2 (0-3, 0-6)
(Arakida eliminated from medal contention when Deng lost in semifinals)
48kg – MIMURA, Fuyuko (5th, 11 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Tsai Pei-ching (TPE), 2-0 (3-0, 4-2)
SF – lost to Tsogtbazar Enkhjargal (MGL) by fall, 2P=1:46 (1-3, F0-5)
F3 – lost to So Sim-Hyang (PRK), 0-2 (0-1, 2-6)
51kg – SUGAWARA, Hikari (3rd, 7 entries)
R1 – df. Vu Thi Hang (VIE) by TF, 2-0 (7-0, 6-0)
SF – lost to Zhao Shasha (CHN), 0-2 (0-3, 3-7)
F3 – df. Gulmira Iskakova (KAZ), 2-0 (1-0, 3-0)
55kg – MATSUKAWA, Chikako (1st, 10 entries)
R1 – df. Lkhagvasuren Khongorzul (MGL) by fall, 1P=0:40 (F5-0)
R2 – df. Um Ji-Eun (KOR), 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)
SF – df. Aiym Abdildina (KAZ) by fall, 2P (3-1, F4-0)
F1 – df. Yang Chen (CHN) by fall, 1P (F3-2)