ISTANBUL (September 17) – Kenichi Yumoto won a bronze medal at 60kg in the senior wrestling world championships and secured a berth for Japan at next year's summer Olympic Games in London.
Yumoto, a bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Games, racked up four wins, including a 2-0 (1-0, 1-0) triumph over world and Olympic silver medalist Vasil Fedorishin (UKR) in the third round before losing to defending champ Besik Kudukhov (RUS) in the quarterfinals.
In the consolation semifinal before the bronze medal match, Yumoto defeated Wilfrido Henriquez (VEN), capping his win with a pair of cross-ankle turns for a technical, the win and a ticket to London.
The top six finishers at each Olympic weight category earn the first berths at the London Games. Four more continental qualifiers and two more world qualifying tournaments next spring will fill out the field for Olympic wrestling.
Yumoto is the first Japanese male to win qualification to London at these world championships. Three Japanese women – Hitomi Sakamoto-Obara, Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho – won their respective weight categories and booked their tickets for London.
At 84kg, Shinya Matsumoto came up one match shy of qualifying for London, losing to Albert Saritov (RUS) in the quarterfinals. A bronze medal winner in the 2010 Asian championships, Matsumoto won his first three matches before facing Saritov.
At 96kg, Takao Isokawa lost his only match and did not have a chance at repechage when Etienne van Huyssteen (RSA), a bronze medal winner in the African championships, lost his next bout to African champion Sinivie Boltic (NGR).
60kg – YUMOTO, Kenichi (Bronze, 47 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Vladimir Dubov (BUL), 2-1 (0-3, 3-2, 2-1)
Yumoto drops the first period when he is dropped to his back from a double-leg and lift in the closing seconds, and then gives up two takes in second to trail 0-2 heading into the last 30 seconds.
Yumoto reverses the match with an underhook to knee pick that puts Dobov on his back for three as the second period comes to a close. He takes control of the third with a pair of single-legs before giving up a point at the end.
R3 – df. Vasyl Fedorishin (UKR), 2-0 (1-0=2:03, 1-0=2:01)
Yumoto takes the first period with a double-leg from the clinch, then steps over a crotch-lift counter near the end of the second, apparently for two points. Fedoroshin's corner challenges and the points are erased.
In the second period clinch, Yumoto also finishes with a quick double-leg, but has to do it again when the referee signals an improper start. The second time is good.
R4 – lost to Besik Kudukhov (RUS), 0-2 (0-2=2:03, 0-1=2:08)
Defending champion Kudukhov won the draw for both clinches and had dropped Yumoto quickly each time for the win.
c1 – df. Wilfrido Henriquez (VEN), 2-0 (2-0, 7-0=1:03)
Yumoto scores with a go-behind and cross-ankle turn in the first point, then kicks off the second with a single-leg attack that takes the Venezuelan to his back for two points and a bonus point for the nearfall. Yumoto caps his bid for the Olympics with two more cross-ankle turns.
F3 – df. Didier Pais (FRA), 2-0 (3-0, 2-0)
Yumoto scored with a knee-pick 20 seconds into the match and cruised from there with a single-leg to force-out and a go-behind counter. He scored with another single-leg in the second and spun behind again for the win.
84kg – MATSUMOTO, Shinya (8th, 46 entries)
R1 – df. Adrian Jaoude (BRA), 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)
Matsumoto scores with double-legs in the first period and a single-leg in the second for the win.
R2 – df. Andrea Sorbello (ITA), 2-1 (1-0,0-1=2:06, 3-0)
Matsumoto and Sorbello trade periods on force-outs. In the third, Matsumoto scores a takedown midway through the period and adds two more with a gut wrench.
R3 – df. Alex Dolly (IRL), 2-1 (0-1=2:01, 2-0, 4-3)
Matsumoto dropped the first period in the clinch, but rebounded for second with two force-outs. Dolly opened the third period with a front headlock and drop for three points, but Matsumoto rallied with a three-point double-leg at the end for the win.
R4 – lost to Albert Saritov (RUS), 0-2 (0-1, 0-2)
Matsumoto goes from arm control to a fireman's carry, but Saritov counters to go behind for a point and the first period. Saritov counters for another for a point in the second and secures the win with arm control and a force out.
Matsumoto was eliminated from medal contention and a chance at an Olympic berth with Saritov lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Sharif Sharifov (AZE).
96kg – ISOKAWA, Takao (23rd, 41 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Etienne van Huyssteen (RSA), 1-2 (1-0, 0-1, 1-4)
Isokawa goes behind in the first period, but is forced out in the second. In the third period, Isokawa attempts a lateral drop but the South African lands on top for a nearfall. A late go-behind for Isokawa is not enough to reverse the match.
Isokawa was eliminated from medal contention when van Huyssteen lost in the third round.