ASTANA, Kazakhstan (March 31) – Kohei Hasegawa defeated five-time world champion Hamid Soryan (IRI) and three Japanese greco-roman wrestlers earned berths in this summer’s London 2012 Olympic Games on the second day of the Olympic qualifying tournament for Asia.
In addition to Hasegawa at 55kg, Ryutaro Matsumoto (60kg) and Tsutomu Fujimura (66kg) advanced to the greco-roman finals at Daulet Sports Center to secure their place on the Japanese Olympic team. The top two wrestlers at each weight category qualified for the Games in London.
The trio equaled the total number of greco-roman wrestlers who took part at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games for Japan, with two world qualification tournaments remaining in April and May.
Hasegawa becomes the first wrestler from Aoyama Gakuin University and Fujimura the first wrestler from Tokuyama University to make the Japanese Olympic team.
Fujimura also becomes the first wrestler from a west Japan university to qualify for the Olympics since 1984 and the first in greco-roman since 1976. Koichi Ishimori from Osaka Physical Education College wrestled freestyle in Los Angeles and Yasunari Akiyama of Nagoya’s Meijo University represented Japan in greco-roman in Montreal.
At 55kg, Hasegawa posted a pair of early wins and the defeated 2011 Asia champion Arsen Eraliev (KGZ) in the semifinals to secure his ticket to London. In the final, Hasegawa edged Soryan, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0), in par terre for his second straight win over five-time world champ. Hasegawa defeated Soryan at the 2010 Asian Games shortly after the Iranian star had won his fifth world title in Moscow.
At 60kg, Matsumoto defeated former world champ Dilshod Aripov (UZB) in the semifinals to qualify for London, but came up short in the final against 2010 Asia champ Sheng Jiang (CHN) who is headed to his third straight Olympic Games.
At 66kg, Fujimura edged 2008 Olympic silver medalist Kanatbek Begaliev (KZG), 2-1, in the semifinals to grab the ticket to London, but fell in the final to Darkhan Bayakhmetov (KAZ), a fifth-place finisher in Beijing.
At 74kg, Tsukasa Tsurumaki lost to 2010 Asian Games silver medal winner Daniyar Kobonov (KGZ) in the quarterfinals, but rebounded for third place with a win over Chang Yongxiang (CHN), a 2008 Olympic silver medalist.
Japan’s other entries on the second day of the qualifier – Masayuki Amano (greco-roman 84kg) and Nobuyoshi Arakida (freestyle 120kg) — both lost their opening bouts and did not have a chance to wrestle in the consolation bracket.
120kg – ARAKIDA, Nobuyoshi (10th, 10 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Nam Koung-Jin (KOR), 0-2 (0-2, 0-2)
Arakida gives up a pair of takedowns in the first period, then surrenders a force-out and go-behind in the second.
55kg – HASEGAWA, Kohei (1st, 9 entries)
R1 – df. Rajender Kumar (IND), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
Hasegawa scores with a gut wrench in the first period, and defends in par terre in the second against the 2010 Asian silver medalist.
R2 – df. Siriphong Champakham (THA), 2-0 (6-0, 2-0)
Hasegawa opens with an arm throw for five points and gets one for a nearfall for a first-period technical. He scores with a force-out at 1:15 of the second and adds a go-behind counter at the end.
SF – df. Arsen Eraliev (KGZ), 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)
Hasegawa takes the first period defending in par terre against last year’s Asia champion, then converts with a gut wrench in the final 30 seconds of the second for the win.
F1 – df. Hamid Soryan (IRI), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
Hasegawa and Soryan do not score in the first 90 seconds of the first and second periods. Hasegawa defends in par terre for the first period and rolls Soryan over for exposure in the second.
60kg – MATSUMOTO, Ryutaro (2nd, 6 entries)
R1 – df. Pravan Ritisak (THA), 2-0 (1-0, 7-0=1:15)
Matsumoto opens with a force-out to take the first period, then scores big points in the second with a back-arching throw followed by a front headlock and turn from standing.
SF – df. Dilshod Aripov (UZB), 2-1 (1-0, 0-3, 1-0)
Matsumoto takes the first period with a force-out, but drops the second on a throw and a failed challenge by Japanese coaches. Matsumoto came back with a push-out in the third.
F1 – lost to Sheng Jiang (CHN), 1-2 (0-6=1:54, 2-0, 1-1x=last)
Matsumoto gets rolled in par terre for a first-period technical, but gains the second on Sheng’s leg penalty in par terre. Matsumoto scores quickly with a force-out from behind in the third, but the 2010 Asia champ answers back with his own force-out for the last point and the win.
66kg – FUJIMURA, Tsutomu (2nd, 8 entries)
R1 – df. Rana Sunilkumar (IND), 2-1 (0-1, 2-0, 1-0)
Fujimura cannot turn the Asian Games bronze medalist in first-period par terre, but comes back a pair of go-behinds in the second. In the third, Fujimura executes a small hiplock and goes behind for the winning point.
SF – df. Kanatbek Begaliev (KGZ), 2-1 (0-1, 2-0, 3-0)
Fujimura is thrown by the 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the first period, but scores with a gut wrench at 1:58 of the second to even the match. After a scoreless 90 seconds in the third, Fujimura has the choice in par terre and elects to defend. He steps over Begaliev’s attempted gut wrench and holds for back exposure and the win.
F1 – lost to Darkhan Bayakhmetov (KAZ), 0-2 (0-2, 0-2)
Fujimura is turned in par terre and drops the first period. In the second, he cannot get a lock around the Asian Games silver medalist. Japanese coaches protest that Bayakhmetov’s positioning was too closed, but officials reject the challenge.
74kg – TSURUMAKI, Tsukasa (3rd, 10 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Daniyar Kobonov (KGZ), 0-2 (0-1, 0-1)
Tsurumaki lets the 2010 world bronze medalist stand and escape from par terre in the first period, then gives up an arm throw early in the second.
F3 – df. Chang Yongxiang (CHN), 2-0 (3-0, 2-0)
Both periods are scoreless on the feet and go to par terre. Tsurumaki takes the first on a leg penalty by the 2008 Olympic silver medalist, then lands on top of Chang’s attempted lift and throw in the second.
84kg – AMANO, Masayuki (8th, 10 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Ma Sanyi (CHN), 0-2 (0-1, 0-1)
Amano is unable to turn Ma in first-period par terre, then gives up a body tackle midway through the second for an early exit.