TOKYO (January 27) – World champions Hitomi Sakamoto and Kaori Icho along with world bronze medal winner Kyoko Hamaguchi will lead Japan into the World Cup of women's wrestling in France in March.
Japan will have national champions at five of the seven weight categories when the women's dual meet championship gets under way in the northern French city of Lievin, March 5-6. Japan won five of the first six World Cup meets, which were inaugurated in 2001. China, however, has triumphed the last four years, with Japan finishing second in 2007 and settling for third place the last three years.
Along with Japan, China and host France, Canada, Kazakhstan, Russia, Sweden, and the United States round out the eight-team field.
The Japanese line-up for the World Cup will be:
48kg – Hitomi Sakamoto, Japan Self-Defense Forces
51kg – Hikari Sugawara, Shigakkan high school
55kg – Chikako Matsukawa, Japan Beverage
59kg – Takako Saito, Japan SDF
63kg – Kaori Icho, ALSOK club
67kg – Yoshiko Inoue, Shigakkan University
72kg – Kyoko Hamaguchi, Japan Beverage