Kaori Cruises, Jong Falls on Opening Day of Asian Wrestling Championships

By Tim Foley

DOHA (May 6) – Three-time Olympic champion Kaori ICHO (JPN) showed little signs of slowing down Wednesday night at the Aspire Dome in Doha. The top-ranked 58kg wrestler in the world went 3-0 and never gave up a point en route to clinching gold in her first competition back since suffering a minor injury in December.

Icho blew past Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ) 10-0 in the finals, scoring a pair of four-point takedowns to finish the match and capping a perfect day on the mats having not ceded an offensive point. Tynybekova, ranked No.13 in the world, was also coming off hiatus having suffered a gruesome elbow dislocation in the finals of the Ivan Yarygin International in January.

The day wasn’t as easy for fellow top-ranked wrestler Hak Jin JONG (PRK) who dropped his semifinal matchup with No.4 Erdenebat BEKHBAYAR (MGL) before also losing a lopsided 6-3 decision to No.10 Fumitaka MORISHITA (JPN) in the bronze medal final.

Mongolia’s Bekhbayar would go on to defeat No.11 Samat NADYRBEK UULU (KGZ), 4-1 in the finals to seal up his first Asian Championship.

Iran took two of the final three gold medals in men’s freestyle winning titles at 65kg and 86kg.

Masoud ESMAEILPOOR (IRI) got the Iranian squad roiling in the finals with a 1-1 criteria decision over the fast-rising Tomotsugu ISHIDA (JPN). The young Japanese wrestler is currently ranked No.20 in the world and stymied much of Esmailpoor’s offense with upright positioning and smart work in the zone. Esmailpoor wrestled up from 61kg where he is currently ranked No.2 in the world.

The second gold medal for Iran was awarded to No.11 Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI) who found three consecutive double leg takedowns late in the first period to control No.14 Atsushi MATSUMOTO (JPN), 6-3.

Iran lost out on a trio of gold when second-ranked Khomeil GHASEMI was upset and pinned in the 125kg finals by No.17 Aiaal LAZAREV (KGZ). The Kyrgyz wrestler had frustrated Ghasemi with his height and strength before converting a series of gut wrenches into a fall.

Wrestling resumes tomorrow morning at 9am local time with men’s freestyle at 61kg, 70kg, 74kg ,97kg and women’s wrestling at 48kg.

Medal Match Results

Women's Wrestling -- 58kg
GOLD: No.1 Kaori ICHO (JPN) df. No.13 Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ) by TF, 10-0
BRONZE: Aiym ABDILDINA (KAZ) df. Kyeongeun KIM (KOR), 3-0

Men's Freestyle -- 57kg
GOLD: No.4 Erdenebat BEKHBAYAR (MGL) df. No.11 Samat NADYRBEK UULU (KGZ), 4-1
BRONZE: No.10 Fumitaka MORISHITA (JPN) df. No.1 Hak Jin JONG (PRK), 6-3
BRONZE: No.18 Younes Firouz SARMASTIDIZAJI (IRI) df. Nodirjon SAFAROV (UZB) by FALL

Men's Freestyle -- 65kg
GOLD: No.2 (@61kg) Masoud ESMAEILPOOR (IRI) df. No.20 Tomotsugu ISHIDA (JPN) via criteria, 1-1 
BRONZE: Ruslan PLIEV (UZB) df. Ryong Hak HWANG (PRK) by TF,13-2 

Men's Freestyle -- 86kg
GOLD:  No.11 Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI) df. No.14 Atsushi MATSUMOTO (JPN) , 6-3
BRONZE: Purevee USUKHBAATAR (MGL) df. Muhammad INAM (PAK), 10-8 

Men's Freestyle -- 125kg
GOLD: No.17 Aiaal LAZAREV (KGZ) df. No.2 Komeil GHASEMI (IRI) by FALL
BRONZE: Zhiwei DENG (CHN) df. Mohammed Sabah Abdulmalek SAKLAWE (IRQ) by TF, 10-0
BRONZE: Farkhod ANAKULOV (TJK) df. Hitender HITENDER (IND) by criteria, 2-2