TAIYUAN, China (April 29) – Hirokazu Shinjo lost his opening bout at the first world qualifying tourney for the 2012 Olympic Games, leaving Japan as it was three days earlier – seeking six berths in London.
Japan has qualified for this summer’s Games in 12 of wrestling’s 18 weight categories – four each in men’s freestyle and greco-roman and in all four women’s events. Japan will have a chance to qualify in the remaining six categories at the final world qualifier, May 4-6, in Helsinki.
Japanese veteran Shinjo, wrestling at 120kg in greco-roman, squared off in a first-round bout with Mindaugas Mizgaitis (LTU) but could not score against the Beijing Olympic bronze medalist and went down 0-1, 0-2. Shinjo was eliminated from further competition when Mizgaitis lost in his next match.
At the end of the competition, men’s national team director Mitsuru Sato said “I understand that it’s not easy winning in a tournament that includes world champions. but it’s unfortunate to end with zero (qualifications).”
Looking ahead to Helsinki, Sato said “It’s necessary to have confidence and to have the courage to wrestle with all one’s might. We might lose on the physical side, but I want the wrestlers to look for their chances at the tie-ups and with pressure.”
Results of bouts involving Japanese wrestlers:
120kg – SHINJO, Hirokazu (14th, 20 entries)
R1 – lost to Mindaugas Mizgaitis (LTU), 0-2 (0-1, 0-2)