Bajrang Punia’s nemesis Otoguro clinches Tokyo spot but Ota and Irie fails at the All Japan Championships

By   - 23/12/2019

Remember the 2018 world wrestling championship finals in the 65kg category. Takuto Otoguro of Japan broke millions of Indian hearts as he defeated Punia to clinch the world crown. Otoguro one of the most difficult opponent for Bajrang has booked his place at Tokyo 2020 in the Japan team. The 2018 world champion secured Japan’s Olympic berth at freestyle 65kg with a fifth-place finish at this year’s World Championships in Nur-Sultan, but his place in the Japan team for Tokyo 2020 was once again at the stake in the All Japan Nationals Championships.

Japanese Federation had decided that only world championship medallists will be guaranteed of their place in the Tokyo 2020 that is the reason 5th place Otoguro was asked to go through the nationals test. But the champion from Japan kept on track to the Olympics by routing 2017 world U-23 champion Rinya NAKAMURA, finishing up a 10-0 technical fall with one second left in the first period. Otoguro could be joined at Tokyo 2020 by older brother Keisuke Otoguro, who won the 74kg gold to set up a playoff with Mao OKUI, who clinched the Olympic spot in Nur-Sultan but fell Saturday in the first round.

The depth of the Japanese wrestling was in full display at the All Japan Nationals as number of Olympic and the world medallists failed to grab the Olympic qualifier spot. Rio Medallists Ota, Tosaka and two time world champ Yukie Irie failed in their qualification bids.

Also Read: Natalya Vorobieva of Russia named UWW Comeback Wrestler of the year 2019

Yui Susaki Qualifies – 2 time world champ Yuki Irie fails
Given the stakes, it hardly produced the fireworks—and points—that were seen in their previous encounters. But a win is a win, and that was all that concerned Yui SUSAKI, who took a major step closer to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Susaki kept her once-faded Olympic dream alive by beating nemesis Yuki IRIE in an intense but ultimately dull 2-1 victory in the women’s 50kg final on the fourth and final day of the All Japan Championships on Sunday at Tokyo’s Komazawa Olympic Park Gym.

All of the points came on the activity clock, and after Irie received her lone point with a minute to go, Susaki went into solid defense mode to preserve the victory and secure a ticket to the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament in Xi’an, China, in February. “When she got a point, I kept believing I would win and didn’t panic,” said Susaki, who added to the lone national title she won in 2016. “I was able to wrestle to the end keeping a strong mind.”

Susaki also defeated Rio 2016 Olympic champion Eri TOSAKA in Saturday’s semifinals,

57kg – Higuchi qualifies, former world champ Yuki Takahashi loses
Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist Rei HIGUCHI will also be on the flight to China, after he successfully dropped two weight classes and knocked off former world champion Yuki TAKAHASHI in an enthralling freestyle 57kg final with a razor-thin 7-6 win. After winning a silver at Rio 2016, he moved up to 61kg, then up to 65kg in a bid for a second trip to the Olympics. He experienced some success, winning the world U-23 gold in 2018, but was ultimately unable to unseat Otoguro. Once Otoguro gained the Olympic berth for Japan in Nur-Sultan, Higuchi concluded it would be too difficult to beat him twice (at the All Japan and the playoff) and thus saw his only option as dropping down to 57kg to challenge Takahashi.

He started the process of cutting weight, having blown up to a lifetime heaviest of 68kg. “The temperance was really hard,” he said. “For three or four months, I had a diet of almost solely vegetables.”

End of 2020 Olympic Road for Rio Medalists Tosaka, Ota

Looking to add to the medals they won at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Eri TOSAKA and Shinobu OTA faced difficult paths to Tokyo 2020. The road came to a disappointing and official end for both at the All Japan Championships. Rio champion Tosaka fell in the women’s 50kg semifinals to SUSAKI. Ota, denied at Greco-Roman 60kg, moved up two weight classes to 67kg in a desperate attempt to make it to Tokyo 2020, but the Rio silver medalist at 59kg was dealt an unceremonious thrashing in his first-round match.

Results – All Japan Nationals Championships
Men’s Freestyle
57kg Final – Rei HIGUCHI df. Yuki TAKAHASHI, 7-6
65kg Final – Takuto OTOGURO df. Rinya NAKAMURA by TF, 10-0, 2:59
74kg Final – Keisuke OTOGURO df. Daichi TAKATANI, 14-8
79kg Final – Shinkichi OKUI df. Yudai TAKAHASHI, 3-3
86kg Final – Sosuke TAKATANI df. Hayato ISHIGURO, 6-0
92kg Final – Takuma OTSU df. Ryoichi YAMANAKA, 9-1

63kg Final – Yoshiki YAMADA df. Masaki ISHIKAWA by TF, 9-1, 4:09
67kg Final – Shogo TAKAHASHI df. Tsuchika SHIMOYAMADA, 5-3
77kg Final – Shohei YABIKU df. Kodai SAKURABA, 4-0
87kg Final – Masato SUMI df. Takahiro TSURUDA, 6-1
130kg Final – Arata SONODA df. Ryota KONO by TF, 9-0, 1:52

Women’s Wrestling
50kg Final – Yui SUSAKI df. Yuki IRIE, 2-1
53kg Final – Haruna OKUNO df. Nanami IRIE, 3-2
57kg Final – Sae NANJO df. Akie HANAI, 4-0
62kg Final – Ami ISHII df. Atena KODAMA, 4-2
68kg Final – Miwa MORIKAWA df. Naruha MATSUYUKI, 2-1

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