Okuno Outduels Heaton, Japan Sweeps Women’s Final Day at Cadet World C’ships

By William May

TBILISI (September 16) – Haruna OKUNO outdueled defending world champion Ronna HEATON (USA) on Friday evening to key a Japanese sweep of the final five women’s events at the Cadet Wrestling World Championships.

Okuno, a bronze medalist at the 2014 world meet, went single to double-leg attack for a 2-0 lead at the break, then came with a low-single attack for two more in the second period of the 52kg at Tbilisi Sports Palace.

The world champ, however, battled back with her own takedown midway through the stanza but could get no closer as Okuno held for a 4-2 victory and her first world title.

By comparison, Okuno’s four teammates had an easy time of it as Tsugumi SAKURAI (JPN) wrapped up her third technical fall of the day against this year’s Asian silver medalist Mansi MANSI (IND) in the 40kg final.

And, 2015 Asian champion Suzuna YOSHIMURA (JPN) went from single-leg attack to a bar-arm to crank Andrea ANA (ROU) over to her back and pressed for the fall at 1:29 of the 46kg final.

Earlier, Yoshimura and her unorthodox style of wrestling lifted her to wins over world silver medal winner Alleida MARTINEZ (USA) and European champion Emma MALMBERG (SWE). Both wrestlers met for the bronze medal with Martinez cobbling together an 8-3 victory.

At the heavier weight categories, newcomer Atena KODAMA (JPN) shook off some first-period jitters with European silver medal winner Maria LACHUGINA (RUS) at 60kg and rolled up a 10-0 technical fall with nine points in the second period.

Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN), a bronze medal winner at the 2015 Asian cadet meet, also needed a couple of minutes to calm down before forging a 7-2 win over reigning Asia champion Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ) in the second period of the day’s finale at 70kg.

For fans for women’s wrestling, Friday evening’s display was reminiscent Japan four gold medals in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the Japanese juniors winning six of eight titles at the junior wrestling world championships two weeks ago in France.

In total, the nine-member squad won eight of the 10 gold medals on offer in Tbilisi and one silver medal, securing the women’s team title with 89 points. First-day leader Russia, with a title from Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) at 65kg, was second with 67 points, followed by the United States with 51 points.

The championships continue Saturday at Tbilisi Sports Palace with five events on the first day of freestyle wrestling.


40kg (14 entries)

Gold – Tsugumi SAKURAI (JPN) df. Mansi MANSI (IND) by TF, 10-0, 2:00
Bronze – Anna ARGUNOVA (RUS) df. CHANG Yu-syuan (TPE), 4-4
Bronze – Maria CIOCLEA (ROU) df. Maria LEORDA (MDA) by Fall, 1:59 (8-2)

Semifinal – Tsugumi SAKURAI (JPN) df. Anna ARGUNOVA (RUS) by TF, 10-0, 2:30
Semifinal – Mansi MANSI (IND) df. Maria CIOCLEA (ROU), 6-3

46kg (19 entries)

Gold – Suzuna YOSHIMURA (JPN) df. Andrea ANA (ROU) by Fall, 1:29 (7-0)
Bronze – Valentyna KARAMAVROVA (UKR) df. Anju ANJU (IND) by Fall, 3:41 (4-6)
Bronze – Alleida MARTINEZ (USA) df. Emma MALMGREN (SWE), 8-3

Semifinal – Andrea ANA (ROU) df. Valentyna KARAMAVROVA (UKR), 6-0
Semifinal – Suzuna YOSHIMURA (JPN) df. Emma MALMGREN (SWE), 9-6

52kg (22 entries)

Gold – Haruna OKUNO (JPN) df. Ronna HEATON (USA), 4-2
Bronze – Ida JOENSSON (SWE) df. Erika BOGNAR (HUN), 9-4
Bronze – Nazira MARSBEK KYZY (KGZ) df. Andribeth RIVERA BELLIARD (PUR), 5-4

Semifinal – Ronna HEATON (USA) df. Ida JOENSSON (SWE) by Fall, 0:43 (2-4)
Semifinal – Haruna OKUNO (JPN) v Andribeth RIVERA BELLIARD (PUR), 6-1

60kg (17 entries)

Gold – Atena KODAMA (JPN) df. Maria LACHUGINA (RUS) by TF, 10-0, 3:46
Bronze – Anshu ANSHU (IND) df. Aina TEMIRTASSOVA (KAZ), 7-4
Bronze – Alara BOYD (USA) df. Kirti SAXENA (CAN), 8-1

Semifinal – Maria LACHUGINA (RUS) df. Aina TEMIRTASSOVA (KAZ) by Fall, 3:25 (6-3)
Semifinal – Atena KODAMA (JPN) df. Alara BOYD (USA), 8-0

70kg (18 entries)

Gold – Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN) df. Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ), 7-2
Bronze – Kamile GAUCAITE (LTU) df. Denise MAKOTA-STROEM (SWE), 1-0
Bronze – Raquel RAMA ESCRIBANO (ESP) df. Bernadett NAGY (HUN), 6-2

Semifinal – Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ) df. Denise MAKOTA-STROEM (SWE), 3-2
Semifinal – Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN) df. Bernadett NAGY (HUN), 5-1

Team Standings, Women’s Wrestling (Top six teams)

1. Japan, 89 points (8 gold medals, 1 silver, 0 bronze)
2. Russia, 67 (1-3-2)
3. United States, 51 (0-1-4)
4. India, 44 (1-1-1)
5. Kyrgyzstan, 25 (0-1-2)
6. Ukraine, 25 (0-0-2)