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|U.S. loses to Japan, beats Ukraine on day one of Women’s World Cup in Nagoya, Japan|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
The United States went 1-1 in dual meets on the first day of the Women's World Cup, held at the the Inaei Sports Center in Nagoya, Japan, May 20.
The U.S. team opened the tournament by losing to defending World Cup champion Japan, 6-1. Japan is the reigning World champion team in women's wrestling.
The U.S. was able to win one match in the showdown, as 2005 World bronze medalist Katie Downing (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) stopped Yoshiko Inoue , 1-0, 1-0 at 67 kg/147.5 lbs.
Japan won the six other matches in the dual meet. All six of the Japanese athletes who won their matches are past World champions, with four all being Olympic medalists.
At 48 kg/105.5 lbs., past World champion Chiharu Icho defeated 2001 World silver medalist Stephanie Murata (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), 3-0, 7-0.
2001 and 2005 World champion Hitomi Sakamoto defeated 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda (New Haven, Conn./Sunkist Kids) , 5-0, 5-0 at 51 kg/112.25 lbs.
2004 Olympic champion and four-time World champion Saori Yoshida scored a pin at 55 kg/121 lbs., stopping Sharon Jacobson (El Cajon, Calif./USOEC/Gator WC)in 1:25 of the first period.
At 59 kg/130 lbs., four-time World champion Seiko Yamamoto needed three periods to stop two-time World bronze medalist Sally Roberts (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC), 3-3, 2-0, 6-0
The battle at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. was part of a rivalry between two international stars. 2004 Olympic champion and four-time World champion Kaori Icho edged 2004 Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann (Iowa City, Iowa (Sunkist Kids), 1-0, 1-0. Icho and McMann have battled every year at the major competitions, and the matches have been close and competitive.
At 72 kg/158.5 lbs., five-time World champion Kyoko Hamaguchi stopped two-time World champion Kristie Marano (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC), 1-0, 4-0
The Untied States rebounded with a dominant 6-1 win over Ukraine in the second match, capturing all six victories by decsion.
In one of the more competitive bouts, Marano stopped 2005 World bronze medalist Svitlana Sayenko, 2-0, 1-0.
Downing won her second match of the day, a 2-0, 10-0 win over Voleriya Zlarovo.
Other U.S. winners in the Ukraine bout were Murata, Miranda, Roberts and McMann.
The United States ends the competition in Pool A with a 1-1 record. There remains one more match in the pool, as Japan faces Ukraine on Sunday morning. If Japan wins, it will advance to the gold medal finals, with the United States moving onto the third-place match and Ukraine qualifying for the fifth-place match. If Ukraine wins, then there will be tie-breaking procedures to determine the medal match pairings.
In Pool B, Canada has clinched a spot in the championship finals by winning both of its matches on Saturday, stiopping China 4-3 and Russia, 5-2.
Canadian wrestlers who won both of their matches on Saturday include three-time World medalist Carol Huyhn at 48 kg/105.5 lbs., 2004 Olympic silver medalist Tonya Verbeek at 55 kg/121 lbs., Breanne Graham at 59 kg/130 lbs. and Ohenewa Akuffo at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.
On Sunday morning, the pool competition will be completed, as Japan faces Ukraine and China faces Russia. This will be followed by the medal match round, which will determine the final placement of the teams.
The top six ranked national teams in the world in women's wrestling are showcased at the Women's World Cup.
At the 2005 World Championships, Japan won the team title, followed by China in second, the United States in third, Canada in fourth, Russia in fifth and Ukraine in sixth. All six of these nations will be in the field at the competition this weekend.
Women's World Cup results