TOKYO (December 22) – Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu and Hitomi Obara Sakamoto won their respective weight categories on the second day of the All-Japan national wrestling championships and secured berths for the London 2012 Olympic Games next summer.
Yonemitsu, a silver medalist at this year's world championships, caught two-time Olympian Kazuhiko Ikematsu on his back early in the 66kg men's freestyle final for the fall at Yoyogi National Gymnasium. The win cemented Yonemitsu's claim to the Olympic berth he won at the world meet in September.
"I'm happy to be going to the Olympics," Yonemitsu said after the final, "I was runner-up at the world championships and I will use that disappointment to motivate me all the way to London."
Meanwhile, Obara Sakamoto, who won her eighth world title in September, earned her first trip to the Olympics with a 2-0 (2-1, 3-0) decision over Asia junior champ Eri Tosaka in the 48kg women's freestyle final.
"It has really been a long road to get here," said Obara Sakamoto. "I won the world title this year, but the matches were not easy. So, I want to practice and keep on improving (through the Olympics)."
In other freestyle finals, defending champion Shinichi Yumoto edged 2010 world bronze medalist Yasuhiro Inaba for the men's 55kg crown and Youth Olympics gold medalist Yu Miyahara won the women's 51kg title to become the first wrestler from the JOC Academy for elite athletes — established in 2002 — to triumph in the All-Japan meet.
In greco-roman, Asian Games silver medalist Tsukasa Tsurumaki regained the All-Japan title at 74kg after defending champion Takehiro Kanakubo lost in the second round. It was Tsurumaki's fourth All-Japan triumph since 2004 and his third in four years.
Norikatsu Saito, formerly a two-time winner at 84kg, appeared comfortable winning the 96kg title and Hirokazu Shinjo stopped Waseda University freshman Shori Maekawa for his third straight all-Japan victory at 120kg and fifth overall.
74kg (15 entries)
F1 – Tsukasa Tsurumaki df. Tsubasa Fukuda, 2-0 (1-0, 6-0=1:41)
SF – Fukuda df. Kazuo Tamura, 2-1 (1-0, 0-1, 1-0)
SF – Tsurumaki df. Naoto Kasai, 2-1 (2-0, 0-1, 1-0)
96kg (12 entries)
F1 – Norikatsu Saikawa df. Yusuke Yamamoto, 2-0 (4-0, 2-0)
SF – Saikawa df. Takuma Arizono, 2-0 (1-0, 4-0)
SF – Yamamoto df. Yasuhiro Mori, 2-0 (1-0, 3-0)
120kg (16 entries)
F1 – Hirokazu Shinjo df. Shori Maekawa, 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 3-0)
SF – Shinjo df. Atsushi Nakamura, 2-0 (2-0, 1-0)
SF – Maekawa df. Masahiro Tanida, 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)
55kg (17 entries)
F1 – Shinichi Yumoto df. Yasuhiro Inaba, 2-1 (3-1, 0-1, 3-2)
SF – Yumoto df. Yasuhiro Morita, 2-1 (0-1, 2-0, 6-0=1:24)
SF – Inaba df. Tomohiro Matsunaga, 2-0 (3x-3=last, 6-0=0:46)
66kg (19 entries)
F1 – Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu df. Kazuhiko Ikematsu by fall, 1P=0:47 (F3-0)
SF – Yonemitsu df. Takahiro Inoue, 2-0 (2-0, 4-0)
SF – Ikematsu df. Kohei Fujimoto by fall, 1P=1:29 (F3-0)
48kg (27 entries)
F1 – Hitomi Obara Sakamoto df. Eri Tosaka, 2-0 (2-1, 3-0)
SF – Obara Sakamoto df. Yuki Irie by fall, 1P=1:56 (F4-0)
SF – Tosaka df. Anna Iwamure, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
51kg (11 entries)
F1 – Yu Miyahara df. Hikari Sugawara, 2-1 (2-1, 0-1, 3-1)
SF – Sugawara df. Honoka Saito, 2-1 (1-0, 2-3, 2-0)
SF – Miyahara df. Risako Kawai, 2-1 (0-1, 2x-2=big, 1-0=2:07)