BUCHAREST (July 29) – Mika Naganuma and Kanako Murata rolled over a field of strong opponents to claim a pair of gold medals and give Japan the women's team title at the junior wrestling world championships.
Naganuma's win at 48kg and Murata's at 55kg gave Japan five gold medals overall in the women's events as the Japanese ran away with the team championship with 59 points. Japan last won five titles at the junior worlds in 2000, when the team included future stars such as Saori Yoshida, Chiharu Icho and Seiko Yamamoto.
Russia was second with 46 points and two champions, while the United States was third after rolling up 46 points without an individual winner.
On her way to the 48kg gold, Naganuma of Shigakkan University stunned two-time defending world champ Victoria Anthony (USA) with a fall in the second round. She finished with a flourish by stopping this year's European junior silver medalist Nina Hemmer (GER) in the semifinals and pinning Euro champ Tatyana Samkova (RUS) in the final.
At 55kg, Murata opened by going up the ladder against European junior medal winners, capping with hard-fought win over Maria Prevolaraki (GRE) in the quarterfinals. In the final, Murata of the JOC Academy in Tokyo eked out a 2-1 win over two-time junior world bronze medalist Helen Maroulis (USA).
Meanwhile, Rio Watari opened with a pair of wins at 63kg, but was pinned in the semifinals by European senior silver medalist Taybe Husein (BUL) and again in the final for third place by Anastasiya Huchok (BLR). Watari, who had won the Golden Grand Prix final in early July, settled for a fifth place overall.
Japan's fourth entry on the final day of women's events, Hosei University's Akie Arai dropped her first match and did not have a chance to wrestle in the consolation rounds.
48kg – NAGANUMA, Mika (Gold, 20 entries)
R1 – df. Sumeyya Sezer (TUR), 2-0 (4-3, 7-0)
R2 – df. Victoria Anthony (USA) by fall, 1P (F6-1)
R3 – df. Jade Papke (CAN), 2-0 (3-0, 4-0)
SF – df. Nina Hemmer (GER), 2-0 (4-1, 8-1)
F1 – df. Tatyana Samkova (RUS) by fall, 3P (0-2, 1-1, F4-0)
55kg – MURATA, Kanako (Gold, 26 entries)
R1 – df. Eileen Friedrich (GER), 2-0 (7-2, 4-0)
R2 – df. Tatiana Debien (FRA), 2-0 (4-0, 2-0)
R3 – df. Maria Prevolaraki (GRE), 2-0 (5-1, 1-0)
SF – df. Hafize Sahin (TUR) by fall, 1P (F11-5)
F1 – df. Helen Maroulis (USA,2xWj3), 2-1 (2-3, 1-1, 2-1)
63kg – WATARI, Rio (5th, 16 wrestlers)
R1 – df. Shorena Sharadze (GEO) by fall, 1P (F3-0)
R2 – df. Larissa D'Alleva (CAN), 2-0 (2-0, 7-0)
SF – lost to Taybe Yusein (BUL) by fall, 1P (F0-3)
F3 – lost to Anastasiya Huchok (BLR, 11Ej2, 10Ej3) by fall, 1P (2-2)
72kg – ARAI, Akie (14th, 17 entries)
R1 – lost to Justina di Stasio (CAN), 0-2 (0-1, 0-1)