Sunday, August 17, 2008

Japanese women wrestlers face same results as in Athens

At the Beijing Olympics over the weekend,Japanese "Fantastic Four" wrestlers got same result as they did in Athens, with Kaori Icho winning women's freestyle 63kg title and Kyoko Hamaguchi ending with a bronze in the 72kg category on Sunday, and Adding Saori Yoshida's 55kg gold and Chiharu Icho's silver in 48kg on Saturday.

Icho, 24, retained her Olympic title by defeating Alena Kartashova of Russia by winning each of two bouts in overtime. The victory made Icho the second woman to successfully defend the Olympic title after Yoshida won the trophy in 55kg. Both Icho and Yoshida are Athens gold medalists.

"My elder sister, Chiharu Yoshida, failed to win gold yesterday and it had an impact on me," said Icho. "I just had a bad temper by entering the matches."

Chiharu Icho, 26, lost to Canadian Carol Huynh in the final of 48kg wrestling.

"Before coming to Beijing, both of us made promises to each other that we would win golds," said Kaori Icho. "Her dream broke but she still encouraged me. She gave me strength to win the gold, that's why I say the gold belongs to both of us."

Host wrestler Wang Jiao stunned twice world champion Stanka Zlateva of Bulgaria and claimed title in 72kg category. No other delegations except China touched this medal in any other Olympics Games as Wang Xu won the first gold of this weightclass in Athens, in which women's wrestling made its Olympics debut.

Wang trapped Zlateva on her midway in the first bout and forced the Bulgarian's shoulders to the mat to seize a victory. It only took her one minute and 59 seconds.

"It is my great honor to win this gold medal for China. This is such a surprising victory," said 20-year-old Wang Jiao. "The final was really tough, but I won it easily."

"I didn't attend many international competitions and I don't have enough experience. So I just competed like I would against any opponents," said Wang Jiao.

She also stunned Japanese Hamaguchi in morning's semifinal, as Wang Xu did in semifinals at Athens Games four years ago.

"I was very happy to win the medal," said Hamaguchi. "After my failure in Athens, I trained harder but I made little improvement.

"I had heavy pressure before the matches. But if you don't trust yourself, you can do nothing. I'm still very happy to win a medal, happier than I was in Athens. It is the greatest match in my whole career."

Hamaguchi had a victory over Ali Bernard of the United States while Polish Agnieszka Wieszczek scored in the last 10 seconds of two bouts to defeat Spaniard Maider Unda in another bronze medal match to earn Poland the first women's wrestling medal at the Olympic Games.

The bronze medals of 63kg went to Yelena Shalygina of Kazakhstan and Randi Miller of United States.

Source: Xinhua

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