TOKYO (May 25) – The eight-team World Cup of women’s wrestling kicks off Saturday with a meeting of world champions as Japan bids to end the five-year reign of China as world dual meet champions..
Current world champion Hitomi Obara (JPN) opens at 48kg with Aleksandra Kohut (UKR), the world champ at 51kg in 2010, as wrestling begins with a dual meet between Japan and Ukraine at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium Annex.
A much anticipated showdown between Obara and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Irina Merleni (UKR) did not materialize as the power-packed Ukrainian was entered at 51kg.
Along with Japan and Ukraine in a Group A first-round dual, defending champion China will square off with the United States, last year’s runner-up. In Group B, Canada meets Mongolia and Azerbaijan tangles with Russia.
Later in the day, Japan will face the United States and then conclude the preliminary rounds with China.
“We had hoped to be in the group opposite China, but we drew to the same pool,” said Japanese national team director Kazuhito Sakae. “So, we will meet China in the preliminaries. But I hope we can win and meet Canada in the finals.”