NF Roundup: Nov. 16-20

By United World Wrestling Press

Nippon Sport Science University won the freestyle title at the All-Japan Collegiate Championships (Photo: Tateo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

Yamaguchi Leads NSSU to Japan Collegiate Freestyle Title
World junior champion Kaiki YAMAGUCHI made a successful move up to 65kg, helping lead Nippon Sport Science University to the team title as one of the school's three gold medalists at the All-Japan Collegiate Championships.

Bakhdaulet ALMENTAY (KAZ) etched his name in Japan wrestling history when the Yamanashi Gakuin University senior captured the 125kg gold to become the ninth four-time champion in the history of the freestyle tournament, which was held Nov. 7-8 in Osaka. 

Yuto TAKESHITA, last year's Asian junior champion, won the 57kg gold and Kodai OGAWA triumphed at 61kg as NSSU swept the three lightest weight classes, and had three silver medalists in winning the team title for the 21st time with 71 points. 

Takushoku University, with two champions in Takuma TANIYAMA at 70kg and Kojiro SHIGA at 74kg, finished second with 46.

Yamanashi Gakuin picked up a second title as Takuma OTSU, the national senior champion and Asian silver medalist at 92kg, won the 97kg crown, while world U-23 bronze medalist Hayato ISHIGURO of Nihon University repeated as 86kg champion. 

Kaiki YAMAGUCHI led NSSU to the Japan collegiate freestyle title (Photo: Tateo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

Yamaguchi, the 2018 champion and 2019 runner-up at 61kg -- the weight class in which he won the world junior gold last year in Thailand -- was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler. 

He chalked up three technical falls before knocking off defending champion Ryoma ANRAKU of Waseda 3-1 in the semifinals, then edged Shinnosuke SUWAMA of Kokushikan University 2-0 in the final. 

Takeshita, the Asian junior champion, pulled off the biggest win of the tournament in the quarterfinals, when he posted a 6-2 win over world junior champion Toshiya ABE of Kokushikan. He took the gold with a 7-0 victory over Senshu University's Daiki ARAKI.

Almantay, coming off winning a third straight Greco title in October, maintained his domination of the college heavyweights, winning three of his four matches by technical fall, including a 10-0 win in the final over NSSU's Haroon ABID of Pakistan. The former world junior bronze medalist did not surrender a point. 

By winning a fourth title in a row, Almentay joined a elite group that includes two-time Olympic medalist Kosei AKAISHI (Nihon, 1983-1986) and 2014 world silver medalist Sosuke TAKATANI (Takushoku, 2008-2011), who will be aiming to qualify for a third Olympics in March. Of the nine who have accomplished the feat, he is the fourth from Yamanashi Gakuin.

Kojiro SHIGA claimed the title at 74kg (Photo: Tateo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

In the 74kg final, Takushoku's Shiga overwhelming NSSU freshman Yudai TAKAHASHI by 10-0 technical fall for his third straight title in a clash between two of Japan's national team members at the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan.

Shiga, the Asian silver medalist at 70kg, finished seventh in that weight class in Nur-Sultan, while Takahashi dropped down from 79kg, the weight in which he finished second at the All-Japan Championships last year as a high school senior. 

The national-level tournament was latest in recent months to be held employing strict restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. That included prohibiting spectators and testing all competitors. 

So far, there have been no reports of infections in the weeks following any of the tournaments. 

Final Results
57kg: Yuto TAKESHITA (NSSU) df. Daiki ARAKI (Senshu), 7-0
61kg: Kodai OGAWA (NSSU) df. Keita SHIMIZU (Takushoku), 7-5
65kg: Kaiki YAMAGUCHI (NSSU) df. Shinnosuke SUWAMA (Kokushikan), 2-0
70kg: Takuma TANIYAMA (Takushoku) df. Kazuki SAITO (Meiji) by TF, 10-0, 1:31
74kg: Kojiro SHIGA (Takushoku) df. Yudai TAKAHASHI (NSSU) by TF, 10-0, 3:45
86kg: Hayato ISHIGURO (Nihon) df. Tatsuya SHIRAI (NSSU), 4-1 
97kg: Takuma OTSU (Yamanashi Gakuin) df. Keiwan YOSHIDA (Nihon), 8-6
125kg: Bakhdaulet ALMENTAY (Yamanashi Gakuin) df. Haroon ABID (NSSU) by TF, 10-0, 4:19

Coronavirus Crashes Olympic Party for Wrestler-Coach Couple
LINK: https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/11/cb0540320eda-coronavirus-crashes-olympic-party-for-wrestler-coach-couple.html

Despite these most uncertain of times, when the Tokyo Olympics might not even take place, Japanese wrestler Mayu Mukaida has seized control of her situation, preparing step by step for whatever comes next.

Had the global health crisis not disrupted her life and the sports calendar, the 23-year-old would have made her Olympic debut at the games this past summer and then married her coach Shota Shidochi.

"I want no regrets later, whether the Olympics go ahead or not. I will prepare the best I can," Mukaida told Kyodo News in a recent interview.

In February, Mukaida and Shidochi moved their training base to Tokyo from Aichi Prefecture in central Japan to get used to the host city environment, but in March the Olympics were postponed until 2021.

After the initial disappointment of having to wait another year for her shot at Olympic glory as well as her wedding day, Mukaida finally came to terms with the reality of having to re-plan everything in August.

Vinesh Phogat Gets Surprise Help in Solving Mukaida Problem

"But the tenacious Indian champion and her coach has now got a helping hand from Japan to solve the puzzle named Mayu Mukaida. During their training trip in Norway, Vinesh who has already qualified for Tokyo Olympics with the help of her Hungarian coach Woller Akos trained with multiple time world champion Haruna Okuno of Japan. Okuno who fights in the same category as Mukaida in 53kg recently won the Under 23 world championship and also has two senior world championship titles to her name. Training sessions with Okuno has given Vinesh insight into the wrestling style of her nemesis Mukaida. According to Vinesh’s coach Akos practicing in the Japanese style, wrestling has really helped the Indian champion."


FULL STORY: https://wrestlingtv.in/vinesh-phogat-gets-helping-hand-from-japan-itself-to-solve-the-mayu-mukaida-puzzle/

UWW Launches Legends v. Stars Freestyle Bracket on Instagram

Click HERE to visit the UWW Instagram feed and vote for your favorite wrestlers.

Free Download Available for Bundesliga Magazine:
HERE: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1j8ivQ5bTSgK69oVXVeK5XmQpbeXCQy0u/view 




NF Roundup Blog, Nov. 30 - Dec. 4

By United World Wrestling Press

By Vinay Siwach

India have witnessed many celebrity weddings in the last couple of years. Bollywood movie 'Dangal' fame wrestlers Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat married fellow wrestlers. So did their cousin and India's most successful female wrestler Vinesh Phogat.

Now, India's three-time World Championship medalist Bajrang Punia has tied the nuptial knot on November 25 in a restricted ceremony in northern state of Haryana.

Incidentally, he married youngest sister of Phogat family Sangeeta, a Asian Championship bronze medalist from 2018. The two were in a relationship for the last three years.

The wedding was held in traditional north-Indian manner with festivities going on for four days. Punia hosted the function at his home in Sonipat district of Haryana while Phogat was in Balali village, Charkhi Dadri district, of the same state.

The 65kg wrestler, who has decided to skip the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia next month, will travel to the United States for a training camp at Cliff Keen Wrestling Club in Michigan. He will also wrestle at the FloWrestling's 8-man challenge on December 18. Punia has already qualified the weight category for the Tokyo Olympics.

Phogat, who has been out of action for the last couple of years, is gearing up for return next year with the Asian Championship next year in February in the Olympic weight category of 62kg. India are yet to qualify the weight for the Olympics. This presents her the opportunity to win the national trials and compete at the Asian Olympic qualifiers scheduled to be held in Xi'an, China in March, 2021.

Yuka Kagami (Toyo Univ.), Who has high expectations for post Minagawa, won the first title after going on to school.

by Ken Marantz

Miwa MORIKAWA and Yuka KAGAMI, two of Japan's top future women prospects in the upper weights with an impressive list of world age-group titles, returned to competition from long pandemic-induced layoffs by winning titles at the East Japan Collegiate Championships.

Both only needed one victory to secure gold medals in the tournament held at Tokyo's Komazawa Gym on Nov. 24, which they entered as a warmup for the Emperor's Cup All-Japan Championships next month.

Nippon Sport Science University's Morikawa, who came close to snatching Japan's 68kg spot at the Tokyo Olympics from Rio 2016 champion Sara DOSHO, needed just 38 seconds to overwhelm Kokushikan University's Chinae MUTO by 10-0 technical fall at 65kg.

"It had been this long since my last match in the playoff, but I wanted to get some action in before the Emperor's Cup," Morikawa said. "I was glad to be have a solid match."

Kagami, making her delayed collegiate debut as a Toyo University freshman, scored five takedowns in topping Daito Bunka's Mizuki NAGASHIMA by 12-2 technical fall in the 76kg final.

Kagami finished the match with a gut-wrench roll, but rued her lack of points from the top position against the bigger opponent. "I don't feel like [she] was heavy. This time, I was a bit nervous and didn't move well."

Morikawa, the 2019 world junior champion at 65kg, had moved up to 68kg last year in attempt to depose Dosho, who had earned the Olympic spot for Japan by finishing fifth at the World Championships in Nur-Sultan.

Morikawa came close. She shocked Dosho at last year's All-Japan Championships by thrashing her 9-2 in the semifinals, then went on to win the title with a 2-1 win over Naruyo MATSUYUKI in the final.

That set up a playoff on March 8 for the 68kg berth between Morikawa and Dosho, which Morikawa was unable to repeat her victory and Dosho came out with a 3-1 win.

That would prove to be Morikawa's last live action before the East Japan tournament, where she captured a third straight title.

"Up to now, I was always at 65kg as a junior," Morikawa said. "[Last year], as 68kg is an Olympic weight, Coach [Chikara] TANABE pushed me to make the challenge at the All Japan, so I moved up. Going back to my regular weight class, I came out with the win and want to ride that to the All Japan."

Kagami, the world junior and U23 champion last year at 72kg and 76kg, respectively, looks to have made a permanent move to the heavier weight class as she sets her sights on the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Kagami is a product of the JOC Elite Academy, and has supplemented her training by working out with the group at its National Training Center base. She joins in morning practice, then either trains at Toyo--where she often spars with the lightweight men--or returns in the afternoon for a second session.

"Since I started college, the amount of practice time is less," said Kagami, a former two-time world cadet champion who also won the senior Asian gold last year. "I tried to think of ways to make up for it. I arranged with the Academy to let me join practice there, so I was able to train as usual."

In fact, Kagami said the main reason she chose Toyo, as opposed to powerhouse Shigakkan or another strong wrestling school, was because of its proximity to the NTC---just a 3km bicycle ride away.

"The main reason I chose Toyo is because it's somewhat close to the Academy," said Kagami, who is studying media communications. "When I got to college, I thought I might tend to relax. But with the Academy close, I knew I wouldn't let up, so I chose it."

Living in the college dormitory, Kagami likes her new freedom. But she also keeps her feet on the ground when it comes to her commitment to wrestling.

"There is a fun side to it," she said in regard to college life. "But I know I have to keep in mind that if I don't do what I need to do, I will decline [physically]. It's a little hard to resist temptation."

In other finals, 2018 world cadet champion Sakura MOTOKI of Ikuei University scored a decisive 6-1 victory over world U23 champion Yumeka TANABE of NSSU for the 59kg gold.

At 62kg, 2018 world junior champion Atena KODAMA of Waseda University won her second straight title, but it didn't come easy. She needed two takedowns in the final 20 seconds to beat NSSU's Rin MIYAGI 6-5 in the semifinals, then secured a second-period takedown for a 3-2 win in the final over NSSU's Mahiro YOSHITAKE.