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2023.08.01

Japan Wrestling Federation News ― July 2023 (World Team Playoffs/Yatsu/Asian U15/Asian U20)

 

World Championships team finalized after playoffs

Japan’s team to this year’s World Championships, to be held in Belgrade, Serbia, in September were finalized following playoffs in Olympic weight classes on July 1 and in non-Olympic weight classes on July 17. Here is the team:

Freestyle
57kg: Rei HIGUCHI (Miki House)
61kg: Kodai OGAWA (Self-Defense Force)
65kg: Takuto OTOGURO (Self-Defense Force)
70kg: Yoshinosuke AOYAGI (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.)
74kg: Daichi TAKATANI (Self-Defense Force)
79kg: Yuto MIWA (ALSOK)
86kg: Hayato ISHIGURO (Self-Defense Force)
92kg: Arash YOSHIDA (Nihon Univ.)
97kg: Takashi ISHIGURO (New Japan Pro Wrestling)
125kg: Daiki YAMAMOTO (Self-Defense Force)

Greco-Roman
55kg: Taiga ONISHI (Waseda Univ.)
60kg: Kenichiro FUMITA (Miki House)
63kg: Ryuto IKEDA (A.C. Wals)
67kg: Kyotaro SOGABE (Nippon Sports Science Univ.)
72kg: Shingo HARADA (So-net)
77kg: Nao KUSAKA (San-E Maritime Corp.)
82kg: Shohei YABIKU (ALSOK)
87kg: Masato SUMI (Self-Defense Force)
97kg: Yuta NARA (Metropolitan Police Dept.)
130kg: Sota OKUMURA (Self-Defense Force)

Women
50kg: Yui SUSAKI (Kitz)
53kg: Akari FUJINAMI (Nippon Sports Science Univ.)
55kg: Haruna OKUNO (Self-Defense Force)
57kg: Tsugumi SAKURAI (Ikuei Univ.)
59kg: Sae NANJO (Toshin Juken)
62kg: Sakura MOTOKI (Ikuei Univ.)
65kg: Nonoka OZAKI (Keio Univ.)
68kg: Ami ISHII (Ikuei Univ.)
72kg: Miwa MORIKAWA (ALSOK)
76kg: Yuka KAGAMI (Toyo Univ.)

Fumita returns from injury to earn ticket to Belgrade

Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Kenichiro FUMITA was among seven wrestlers who earned tickets to the World Championships by winning playoffs in Olympic weight classes held July 1 in Tachikawa, Tokyo.

Olympic silver medalist Kenichiro FUMITA earned a chance at a third world gold after winning the Greco 60kg playoff.

The playoffs were in weight classes in which the champion of the Emperor’s Cup All-Japan Championships, held last December, was different from the winner of the Meiji Cup All-Japan Invitational Championships held in June.

Victories in both tournaments earned an automatic place on the team to Belgrade. The playoff format was a single winner-take-all match.

Fumita had won the Greco 60kg title at the Emperor’s Cup, but missed the Meiji Cup due to an injury suffered in training. That put him into a playoff with Meiji Cup winner Maito KAWANA.

Fumita, the world champion in 2017 and 2019 and bronze medalist in 2022, defeated Kawana 3-1 to earn a fourth career trip to the World Championships, where winning another medal will come with the bonus of automatically earning him a place at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The incentive of the Paris Olympics led to a scramble into the Olympic weight classes, and the women’s playoffs featured clashes between top wrestlers that could be regarded as equivalent to world finals.

At 68kg, world silver medalist and Emperor’s Cup champion Ami ISHII avenged a loss in the semifinals of the Meiji Cup to Miwa MORIKAWA, scoring a first-period takedown and holding on for a nail-biting 2-1 win. Morikawa, the 2022 world champion at 65kg, had moved up to 68kg and won the Meiji Cup title.

World silver medalist Ami ISHII won her battle at 68kg with world 65kg champion Miwa MORIKAWA.

Two-time world champion Tsugumi SAKURAI notched yet another last-second victory over Sae NANJO to secure the world team spot at 57kg. Sakurai, the Meiji Cup champion, scored a 2-point exposure off a front headlock in the final seconds for a 2-2 victory on last-point criteria.

Sakurai won her first world title at 55kg in 2021, then moved up to 57kg last year and captured the gold in that division. Nanjo was a bronze medalist at 57kg in 2021.

Yuko KAGAMI, a world bronze medalist at 76kg, earned a return trip to the worlds by beating 18-year-old Emperor’s Cup champion Ayano MORO 2-2 by scoring a takedown with 50 seconds left. That was a repeat of the Meiji Cup final.

Olympic champion sisters miss out on worlds

In the playoffs in non-Olympic weights held at the Ajinomoto Training Center in Tokyo on July 17, sisters Risako KINJO and Yukako KAWAI — who had won gold medals together at the Tokyo Olympics — were unable to earn tickets to Belgrade.

The playoffs were open to the Emperor’s Cup and Meiji Cup champions, as well as anyone who finished in the top two in an Olympic weight at either tournament but failed to make the world team in that weight. A ladder format was used, with the Meiji Cup champion on the top rung.

Kinjo, who won the Olympic gold at 57kg under her maiden name of Kawai, lost at 59kg to Sae NANJO, while younger sister Kawai, the Olympic champion at 62kg, was defeated at 65kg by Nonoka OZAKI.

Nanjo had lost in the playoff at 57kg, while Ozaki, the world champion at 62kg, moved up after coming up short in that weight class.

Sae NANJO pulls off a major shock by beating Tokyo Olympic champion Risako KINJO in the 59kg playoffs.

Miwa MORIKAWA, the world champion at 65kg, missed out at 68kg, then moved up another weight class to 72kg, where she won the playoff to earn a place on the team to Belgrade.

In freestyle, teenager Arash YOSHIDA followed up on his victory at the Asian Championships by winning the playoff at 92kg and earning his first ticket to a world championships on any level.

Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Shohei YABIKU, who came up short in his bid to make the team at Greco 77kg, will be on the plane to Belgrade after winning the playoff at 82kg.

Full accounts of the playoffs can be found on the UWW website at the following addresses:

Olympic weight classes: https://uww.org/article/fumita-returns-book-ticket-belgrade-sakurai-ishii-make-it
Non-Olympic weight classes: https://uww.org/article/nanjo-ozaki-deny-kawai-sisters-tickets-belgrade

Taking mat again a triumph for ex-Olympian who lost leg

Yoshiaki YATSU, a 67-year-old former Olympian, took the mat at the All-Japan Non-Student Championships for his first wrestling competition in 37 years — and despite having had his right leg amputated below the knee due to diabetes.

Although he lost his first-round match at freestyle 125kg in the tournament held July 1 in Fujimi, Saitama Prefecture, it was an inspirational performance by Yatsu, who represented Japan at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and later went on to a career in professional wrestling.

Katsu lost by technnical fall to Yosuke KENMOCHI, a former rugby player with no formal experience in wrestling. Katsu’s day ended when Kenmochi lost in the semifinals, keeping him out of the repechage round. But he was given a loud round of applause from the crowd, and many people came up and praised him for overcoming his handicap.

Yoshiaki YATSU, left, works for an opening in his match at freestyle 125kg.

“I feel disappointed that I lost,” Yatsu said. “I wanted to [get into the repechage] and have at least one more match and get a win. My feeling is I want to come back and get revenge.”

There are examples of one-legged wrestlers having success. In the United States, a wrestler named Tom SEITZ lost a leg following a lawn mower accident as a child, but won a New Jersey state high school title in 1974 at 106 pounds (48kg). In 2011, Anthony ROBLES of Arizona State University won the NCAA title at 125 pounds (56.7kg), despite being born without a right leg.

While Yatsu may be at his physical limit at age 67, he plans to continue his challenge as part of his aim to get wrestling into the Paralympics.

Japan wins 7 golds at Asian U15

Yuu KATSUME won her second straight gold medal and Japan won seven overall at the Asian U15 Championships held July 12-14 in Amman, Jordan.

Katsume won the girls’ 46kg title, adding to the gold she won last year at 42kg. Other Japanese champions in the girls competition were Nana KOZUKA (50kg), Rion OGAWA (54kg), Hanano MORIWAKI (58kg) and Yurina HONDA (66kg).

With two silvers and a bronze, Japan regained the team title it lost to India last year, finishing on top with 202 points. India, which won the five other titles at stake, placed second with 195.

In freestyle, Japan got golds from Haruto EMA at 38kg and Satoya KOBAYASHI at 75kg, marking the first time the Japanese squad had multiple champions since 2018. Japan also won one silver and three bronze medals and finished third in the team standings.

Japan did not enter a team in the Greco-Roman competition.

The Japan U15 girls’ team that won five gold medals and the team title poses for a group photo.

Yamashita, Ito, Hoshino capture Asian U20 titles

At the Asian U20 Championships, which followed the U15 tournament in Amman, Jordan, on July 15-20, a trio of Japanese woman came away with gold medals.

Kanon YAMASHITA won the gold at 55kg, Nagisa ITO at 65kg and Ray HOSHINO at 68kg. Japan also secured three silver medals and a bronze to finish second in the team standings wih 177 points. India, with five champions, won the title with 195.

In the men’s competition, Japan had a pair of silver medalists in freestyle in Hiromu SATO at 61kg and Taishin YAMAJI at 70kg, as well as three bronze medalists. In Greco-Roman, Japan was shut out of the medals, with a highest finish of fifth place.







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