ULAANBAATAR (April 22) – Former Asian championships bronze medalist Taichi OKA advanced to the semifinals of the first Rio 2016 world qualifying tourney in Ulanbaatar, but came up short in his bid for a berth at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.
Wrestling at 85kg in greco-roman, Oka posted wins in his first two bouts, including a 2-0 victory over London 2012 Olympian Ashkat DILMUKHAMEDOV (KAZ) in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, however, Oka fell 0-4 to eventual winner Javid HAMZATOV (BLR) and stumbled again in the bronze medal bouts, 0-2, to junior world bronze medal winner Zakarias BERG (SWE) for fifth place.
Norikatsu SAIKAWA (98kg) and Shohei YABIKU (75kg) each posted wins in their opening bouts, but could advance no further, settling for ninth and 10th place, respectively.
Japan’s fourth entry in the classic style, Arata SONODA (130kg) also lost his opening bout to Hungarian Grand Prix winner MENG Qiang (CHN) but got a chance in repechage when the Asian Games bronze medal winner Meng advanced to the gold medal finals.
In the consolation round, however, Sonoda was flattened by Miloslav METODIEV (BUL) and had to settle for 10th place overall.
Results of bouts involving Japanese entries:
75kg – YABIKU, Shohei (10th, 28 entries)
R1 – df. Joseph LOPEZ (GUM) by TF, 8-0, 1:39
R2 – lost to Juan Angel ESCOBAR (MEX), 3-6
85kg – OKA, Taichi (5th, 23 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Yorgen COVA PULIDO (VEN), 2-0
R3 – df. Askhat DILMUKHAMEDOV (KAZ), 2-0
SF – lost to Javid HAMZATOV (BLR), 0-4
F3 – lost to Zakarias BERG (SWE), 0-2
98kg – SAIKAWA, Norikatsu (9th, 22 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Spyridon KOUNTOURATZIS (GRE) by TF, 11-2, 3:39
R3 – lost to Daigoro TIMONCINI (ITA), 1-2
130kg – SONODA, Arata (10th, 17 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to MENG Qiang (CHN), 2-7
r1 – lost to Miloslav METODIEV (BUL) by Fall, 1:18 (0-4)