TARNOWO PODGORNE, Poland (July 30-31) – Former Asia junior champion Eriko Nakata returned to the mats in style with a bronze medal at the Poland Open international women’s tournament.
Nakata, who last wrestled for Japan at the 2008 world university championships, entered the prestigious women’s freestyle event along with former Waseda University teammate Tsukasa Sato. Sato wrestled in the men’s Ziolkowski International, another highly regarded competition before the world championships in September.
Nakata opened with a convincing 2-0 win over Martina Riegler (AUT) and then stretched U.S. world team member Kelsey Campbell (USA) to the limit in the semifinals.
Nakata took the first period from the clinch, but could not score a point in the final two periods as Campbell prevailed with a force-out in the second and a spin behind in the third.
In the match for third place, Nakata scored with a double-leg takedown in the second period and pressed Andrea Sambrovska (SVK) for the fall.
In the men’s events, Sato, a member of Japan’s Asian championships squad last year, made a pair of tactical errors against Samet Duelger (GER) that knocked him out of the 66kg competition early.
Sato slipped on a front headlock and spin in the first period and was dumped on his back in the third when he tried to jump around behind the German national team veteran. Duelger lost in the second round, knocking Sato out of medal contention.
59kg – NAKATA, Eriko (Bronze, 12 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Martina Riegler (AUT), 2-0 (3-0, 2-0)
SF – lost to Kelsey Campbell (USA), 1-2 (1-0, 0-1, 0-1)
F3 – df. Andrea Sambrovska (SVK) by fall, 2P=1:08 (2-0, F3-0)
66kg – SATO, Tsukasa (17th, 22 entries)
R1 – lost to Samet Duelger (GER), 1-2 (0-4, 1-0,0-3)