BUDAPEST (September 21) – Norikatsu SAIKAWA notched four wins against a pair of losses on his way to a fifth-place finish at 96kg in greco-roman on the penultimate day of the senior wrestling world championships.
SAIKAWA narrowly missed becoming Japan’s first world medalist at 96kg in greco-roman when he fell to fellow London 2012 Olympian Shalva GADABADZE (AZE), 1-2, in the bronze medal finals. SAIKAWA’s fifth place equaled the finish of Kenzo KATO at the 2007 world championships.
SAIKAWA opened with three wins against Asian opponents, but fell behind eventual gold medalist Nikita MELNIKOV (RUS) in the quarterfinals and could not overcome a six-point deficit.
At 60kg, Kazuma KURAMOTO knocked off London 2012 silver medalist Revaz LASHKHI (GEO) in his first match, but was overwhelmed by Universiade champion Ivan KUYLAKOV (RUS) in the quarterfinals and by Asia champion Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB) in repechage and had to settle for seventh place.
At 84kg, Taichi OKA notched a win in the opening round, but lost his round of 32 bout and did not get the chance to wrestle in repechage.
60kg – KURAMOTO, Kazuma (7th, 39 entries)
R1 – df. Revaz LASHKHI (GEO) by disqualification, 4:07 (5-0)
The London 2012 silver medalist has problems with his start in par terre and is hit with three cautions and disqualification.
R2 – df. Mohammad Naser NOURBAKHSH (IRI) by TF, 1:36 (10-2)
KURAMOTO scores three points with an arm throw and adds a fourth with a similar technique. Giving up two to the 2011 junior world bronze medalist, KURAMOTO steps over a gut wrench attempt and hits two of his own for the win.
R3 – df. Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) by TF, 12-3=2:20
KURAMOTO scores with a bodylock takedown and gut wrench, but gives three points back with a step-over counter and gut wrench. KURAMOTO gets rolling with another bodylock, gut wrench and lift combination for quick end to the bout.
QF – lost to Ivan KUYLAKOV (RUS) by TF, 0-9=1:09
KURAMOTO attempts a takedown but is countered for two and then cannot get out of a series of gut wrenches and turns by the Universiade champion.
c1 – lost to Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB) by TF, 1:50 (8-0)
KURAMOTO is thrown by the Asia champion and gives up a gut wrench in the first minute and then is caught with a headlock for the technical when he attempts a gut wrench.
84kg – OKA, Taichi (16th, 34 entries)
R1 – df. Jure KUHAR (SLO), 3-0
OKA scores three points with an arm throw one minute into the bout and makes it stand for the win over the former European junior bronze medalist.
R2 – lost to Fisnik ZAHITI (SWE), 0-1
After a scoreless first period, OKA is hit with his second caution and gives up a penalty point and fails to make up the difference in the final 90 seconds against the two-time senior Nordic champion.
96kg – SAIKAWA, Norikatsu (5th, 37 entries)
R1 – df. XIAO Di (CHN) by TF, 1:37 (7-0)
SAIKAWA opens with an arm throw for three, then finishes the match with a bodylock takedown and gut wrench against the 2012 Asia runner-up.
R2 – df. Sukhrab FATTOEV (UZB) by TF, 1:43 (8-0)
SAIKAWA forces a passive and caution on his opponent in the first minute, then grabs a go-behind takedown and finishes the match with three gut wrenches.
R3 – df. LIM Ji-Young (KOR), 4-1
SAIKAWA takes a 4-0 lead in par terre with a pair of gut wrenches in the first period, then holds on throughout the second despite a late force-out by the 2010 Asia junior bronze medalist.
QF – lost to Nikita MELNIKOV (RUS), 4-6
SAIKAWA gives up three points on a lift from par terre and then surrenders another point force-out. The University Games champion scored another takedown in the second period before SAIKAWA rallied for four points near the end of the bout.
c1 – df. Timo KALLIO (FIN), 1-0
SAIKAWA receives a caution point midway through the second period and makes it stand for the win.
F3 – lost to Shalva GADABADZE (AZE), 1-2
SAIKAWA gives up a point on an arm throw and then another from a gut wrench in par terre. SAIKAWA gets a point back with a pair of cautions against the two-time Olympian in the second period, but cannot get the point he needed in the final 30 seconds to win the match and a bronze medal.