日本レスリング協会公式サイト
JAPAN WRESTLING FEDERATION
日本レスリング協会公式サイト
2023.09.01

Japan Wrestling Federation News ― August 2023 (German Grand Prix/World U17/World U20/East Asian Youth)

 

Sogabe strikes gold at German Grand Prix; Fumita, 2 others take silvers

Japan’s Greco-Roman wrestlers entered in the Olympic weight classes at the upcoming World Championships prepped for the tournament by participating in the German Grand Prix on Aug. 12-13 in Dortmund. Following the event, the squad stayed for a training camp hosted that included about 120 wrestlers from about 10 nations, returning to Japan on Aug. 20.

Kyotaro SOGABE won the gold medal at 67kg, while two-time former world champion Kenichiro FUMITA finished second at 63kg, as did Nao KUSAKA at 87kg and Masato SUMI at 87kg. Fumita will compete at 60kg at the World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.

The Greco-Roman wrestlers who competed at the German Grand Prix stayed for a training camp with wrestlers from about 10 countries.

For Sogabe, a student at Nippon Sports Science University, it marked his first title at an international tournament. Unfortunately, he was awarded the gold without a fight as his opponent in the final, Kristupas SLEIVA (LTU), defaulted.

“The final was a forfeit,” said Sogabe, who won four matches to advance to the final. “It was a good opportunity prior to the World Championships, so I really wanted to have a match. Through the semifinals, I think I did well to put the pressure on and tire the opponents out to score points, which is my trademark.”

Fumita lost by technical fall in the 63kg final to Stefan CLEMENT (FRA), a bronze medalist at this tournament a year ago. “It’s been a long time since I lost by technical fall,” Fumita said, adding that even though he was competing up a weight class, “In the end, it’s really disappointing.”

Still, he was not dispirited. “But I came away getting an idea of what will work and what won’t. I will get it worked out before the World Championships. It was a good opportunity for me.”

Japan girls capture 6 golds at world U17

Japan dominated the girls’ competition at the World U17 Championships held July 31-Aug. 6 in Istanbul, Turkey, capturing six of the 10 gold medals at stake while also winning two silvers.

The performance equaled the six golds claimed by the 2019 team, and doubled the three won last year. Japan easily won the team title with 200 points, well ahead of the second-place United States with 122. It was the eighth straight team championship, not including 2021 when Japan did not enter a team.

The newly crowned champions were Koharu AKUTSU (40kg), Natsumi MASUDA (46kg), Rinka OGAWA (49kg), Sakura ONISHI (53kg), Sowaka UCHIDA (57kg) and Chisato YOSHIDA (65kg). Yoshida is the niece of legendary Olympic and world champion Saori YOSHIDA.

Uchida captured her second straight title, winning four of her five matches by technical fall in the first period. She only allowed points in her quarterfinal win over an Indian opponent.

Newly crowned world U17 champions, from left, Koharu AKUTSU, Natsumi MASUDA, Rinka OGAWA, Sakura ONISHI, Sowaka UCHIDA and Chisato YOSHIDA.

Historic world U17 golds by boys’ teams

Not be outdone, the boys also turned in a good showing at the World U17 Championships, with historic victories in both styles.

Starting with Greco-Roman, Taizo YOSHIDA defeated Mikhail SHKARIN (AIN; a Russian competing as an independent due to that country’s ban), 8-6 in the 80kg final to become Japan’s fourth-ever champion in that style in this age group, previously known as Cadet.

Yoshida’s victory also made him just the country’s second world champion on any age level in an upper weight class, following Tatsuya SHIRAI, who won the freestyle 86kg gold at the World U23 Championships in October last year. In Greco-Roman, the previous heaviest-ever champion was Muneji MUNEMURA, who won the 70kg title at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

In freestyle, Japan got golds from Yamato OGAWA at 51kg and Akito MAEHARA at 60kg. It marked the first time Japan had two gold medalists in a boys’ style since 2013, when Kazuya KOYANAGI (54kg) and Aasen SASAKI (69kg) won Greco-Roman titles. Japan finished third in the freestyle team standings, surpassing the previous highest-ever finish of fourth in 2019.

The freestyle team finished third at the World U17 Championships, its highest finish ever dating back to when the age group was called the Cadets. (UWW website photo)

Disappointing showing by women at World U20

During the pandemic, Japan’s women appeared at just the 2019 and 2022 editions of the World U20 Championships. They dominated those competitions, but that supremacy came to end at this year’s tournament, held Aug. 14-20 in Amman, Jordan, where Japan won just one gold medal.

Ray HOSHINO was the lone Japanese woman to make it to the top of the podium when she won the 68kg gold by defeating 2021 world junior (U20) silver medalist Elizaveta PETLIAKOVA (AIN) in the final. Hoshino’s triumph added to her gold medal at this year’s Asian U20 Championships.

Two defending champions — Moe KIYOOKA at 55kg and Ayano MORO at 76kg — were denied in their bids for back-to-back titles.

Kiyooka started off with a pair of technical falls, but then suffered a stunning loss to European U20 silver medalist Georgiana LIRCA (ROU) in the semifinals. Kiyooka was leading 2-0 when Lirca caught her with a headlock throw and secured a fall. Kiyooka came back to win a bronze medal.

Moro was dealt a close 4-3 defeat in her opening match in the quarterfinals by Kennedy BLADES (USA), a 2021 world junior bronze medalist at 62kg. Blades subsequently lost in the semifinals, knocking Moro out the repechage and medal contention.

In the end, the Japanese women tallied one gold, one silver and four bronze medals to finish second in the team standings with 129 points, trailing champion India with 140. That ended a streak of 10 straight team championships dating back to 2011, and was the first time the team was limited to a single gold medal since 2009.

The women’s world U20 medalists, from left, Miruko SAKANE, Moe KIYOOKA, Ichika ARAI, Suzu SASAKI, Ray HOSHINO and Yuka FUJIKURA.

Nishiuchi claims 2nd world U20 title in row

Yuto NISHIUCHI became the first Japanese male in history to win consecutive titles at the World U20 Championships when he captured the 57kg freestyle gold in Amman with a 5-0 victory over Luke LILLEDAHL (USA), last year’s world U17 champion at 51kg.

Nishiuchi gave up only a single point in four matches to add the 57kg title to the one he won at 61kg last year. It also continued a remarkable run for the Nippon Sports Science University student, who has now won a medal in five consecutive international tournaments dating back to the 2018 Asian U15 Championships.

At 86kg, Fumiya IGARASHI charged into the final with four consecutive technical falls without conceding a point, but was edged out for the gold 6-4 by defending champion Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA). The Chechen, Russia-born Magamadov won the European U23 and U20 titles earlier this year.

With one gold and one silver, Japan finished fourth in the team standings with 63 points, better than the seventh-place finish of the previous year when it actually did slightly better in the medal count, getting one gold, one silver and one bronze.

In Greco-Roman, Komei SAWADA gave Japan its lone medal with a bronze at 63kg. While the team was unable to match its two bronzes from a year ago, it did continue a streak of securing at least one medal dating back to 2015.

World U20 silver medalist Fumiya IGARASHI, left, and two-time champion Yuto NISHIUCHI.

Boys sweep golds, girls win 4 at East Asian Youth

The wrestling competition of the 2nd East Asian Youth Games was held Aug. 21-22 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, with six weight classes each in freestyle and women’s wrestling. Japan’s boys swept all six golds, while the girls won four golds and two silvers.

Among the girls’ gold medalists, Natsumi MASUDA (46kg), Sakura ONISHI (53kg) and Sowaka UCHIDA (57kg) had all previously won the national inter-high school and world U17 titles this summer.

While this year’s East Asian Youth Games were called the second edition, it was ostensibly the first time as the inaugural event had been cancelled. The Games for 15- to 17-year-olds drew entries from seven countries or regions, with five taking part in wrestling.

Japan’s team in wrestling at the East Asian Youth Games.







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