ISTANBUL (September 12) – Kohei Hasegawa won two and lost two to finish in eighth place at 55kg in greco-roman at the senior wrestling world championships, but finished one point shy of earning a berth in next year's Olympic Games in London.
Hasegawa battled 2008 Olympic silver medalist Ravshan Bayramov (AZE) for three periods in the third round, but lost on a correct lift in the closing seconds. Hasegawa got new life in the consolation brackets, but with a ticket to London on the line Peter Modos (HUN) lifted for a point as time ran out.
This year's world meet is also serving as the first qualifier for the 2012 Olympic Games with the top six wrestlers in each Olympic weight category earning a berth at the London Games.
Yuji Okamoto, who finished in ninth place at 66kg, appeared to get an early break when 2010 world silver medalist Armen Vardanyan (UKR) dropped his opening match to unheralded Hugo Passos (POR). Okamoto breezed to victory in his opening match, then took control of the second period of his match with Passos for a convincing second win.
Okamoto, however, could not advance any further in the bracket, falling in the round of 16 to 2010 Pan American champion Pedro Isaac Mullen (CUB). Mullen Herrera fell to Manuchar Tskhadaia (GEO) in the quarterfinals, ending Okamoto's chances for a medal and a possible berth in next year's Olympic Games.
Japan's third entry on the day, Yamanashi Gakuin University student Takuma Arizono lost his opening bout with European bronze medalist Shalva Gadabadze (AZE) and did not get the chance to wrestle in the consolation bracket.
55kg – HASEGAWA, Kohei (8th, 37 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Margarito Angana (PHI), 2-0 (2-0, 4-0)
Hasegawa wrestled cautiously, taking the first period with a go-behind point and then a one-point gut wrench in par terre. In the second, the Asian Games champ got a point for counter for takedown, a lift and two-point gut wrench in par terre.
R3 – lost to Rovshan Bayramov (AZE), 1-2 (0-1, 2-0, 0-1)
Bayramov takes the first period lead with a go-behind, but Hasegawa appears to skip ahead with a bodylock to back exposure for two points, but the points were taken away for an apparent leg foul. Bayramov makes it stand for the first period.
Hasegawa takes the second period with a two-point gut wrench in par terre.
After a scoreless 90 seconds in the third period, Hasegawa chooses down to start par terre. Bayramov executes a correct lift for one point and the win.
c1 – df. Venelin Venkov (BUL), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
c2 – lost to Peter Modos (HUN), 1-2 (0-1, 1-0, 0-1)
No points were scored on the feet, with Hasegawa and Modos trading the first two periods on defensive points. In the third period, the ball pick went to Modos who executed a lift for one point in the closing seconds for the ticket to London.
66kg – OKAMOTO,Yuji (9th, 51 entries)
R1 – df. Caleb Scanlan (ASA) by TF, 2-0 (7-0=0:36, 7-0=0:53)
Okamoto opens with frontal force-outs in both periods against the Oceania junior bronze medalist, then rolls up a technical fall with a lift and throw for five points in the first period and a three straight gut wrenches in the second.
R2 – df. Hugo Passos (POR),2-0 (3x-3=big, 6-0=1:19)
Okamoto scored three points in the final second of the first period with a front headlock and twisting drop to the mat. In the second, Okamoto went from an bodylock takedown and rolled up points with trap-arm gut wrench and near fall for the technical.
R3 – lost to Pedro Isaac Mullen (CUB), 0-2 (0-1, 0-2)
Both periods go to par terre with Mullen scoring with a gut wrench and 2009 world bronze medal winner stepping over Okamoto's gut wrench attempt for back exposure in the second.
Okamoto was eliminated from medal contention when Mullen lost in the quarterfinals.
96kg – ARIZONO, Takuma (43rd, 44 entries)
R1 – lost to Shalva Gadabadze (AZE), 0-2 (0-7=0:25, 0-3)
Arizono had no answer for the European bronze medalists gut wrench, giving up three in the first period for the technical and getting hit with another in par terre in the second.
Arizono was eliminated from medal contention when Gabadadze lost in the third round.