ISTANBUL (September 15) – Saori Yoshida won her ninth world title and Kaori Icho made it No. 7 as the senior wrestling world championships hit their midpoint with three women's events.
Yoshida breezed through the early rounds at 55kg and then dismantled European champion Ida-Theres Nerell (SWE) in the semifinals. In the final, however, Tonya Verbeek (CAN) was able to counter a couple of Yoshida's attacks and make it a match until the closing seconds when Yoshida scored with a double-leg to secure the win.
Yoshida's ninth world title equaled the nine world titles won by greco-roman legend Alexandre Kareline (URS, RUS). Yoshida now looks ahead to London when she will try to join the elite club of wrestlers with three Olympic gold medals.
Joining Yoshida in her bid for three Olympic gold medals next year will be Kaori Icho, who won her seventh world title at 63kg in a style even more dominating than Yoshida.
Icho recorded two falls and did not give up a single point in her six matches, even though she faced three opponents she had defeated in other world finals in recent years – Elena Shalygina (KAZ), Jing Ruixue (CHN) and Elena Pirozhkova (USA).
At the non-Olympic weight of 59kg, European bronze medalist Ganna Vasylenko (UKR) won her first world title, edging 2009 world champion at 51kg Sofia Mattsson (SWE) with solid defense and timely counter wrestling.
55kg (41 entries)
F1 – Saori Yoshida (JPN) df. Tonya Verbeek (CAN), 2-1 (1-0, 2-2x-big, 3-2)
F3 – Tatyana Lazareva (UKR) df. Mariya Gurova (RUS), 2-1 (0-1=2:05, 1-0=2:08, 2-0=2:06)
F3 – Ida-Theres Nerell (SWE) df. Helen Maroulis (USA) by fall, 1P=1:26 (F7-1)
SF – Verbeek (CAN) df. Lazareva (UKR), 2-1 (0-1, 3-1, 1-0)
SF – Yoshida (JPN) df. Nerell (SWE) by TF, 2-0 (6-0=1:57, 6-0=1:38)
59kg (21 entries)
F1 – Ganna Vasylenko (UKR) df. Sofia Mattsson (SWE), 2-0 (2-2x=last, 2-1)
F3 – Takako Saito (JPN) df. Narmandakh Dorj (MGL) by fall, 3P=0:52 (4-4x=big, 5-0, F3-0)
F3 – Sona Aliyeva (AZE) df. Amanda Gerhart (CAN), 2-0 (1-0, 2-1)
SF – Mattsson (SWE) df. Saito (JPN), 2-0 (1-0=2:06, 2-0)
SF – Vasylenko (UKR) df. Aliyeva (AZE) by fall, 1P (F8-4)
63kg (45 entries)
F1 – Kaori Icho (JPN) df. Marianna Sastin (HUN), 2-0 (4-0, 2-0)
F3 – Ochirbat Nasanburmaa (MGL) df. Kim Ran-Mi (PRK), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
F3 – Jing Ruixue (CHN) df. Elena Pirozhkova (USA), 2-0 (2-0, 1-0)
SF – Sastin (HUN) df. Ochirbat (MGL), 2-0(2-0, 5-2)
SF – Icho (JPN) df. Pirozhkova (USA), 2-0 (3-0, 3-0)