Wrestling: Takuto Otoguro becomes Japan's youngest male world champ

Posted by On 11:30 PM

Wrestling: Takuto Otoguro becomes Japan's youngest male world champ

Takuto Otoguro won the 65-kilogram freestyle final at the world wrestling championships in Budapest on Monday, becoming Japan's youngest male world gold medalist at the age of 19 years and 10 months.

Otoguro defeated India's star wrestler Bajrang Punia 16-9. He rewrote the previous Japanese record -- 20 years and six months -- held by his current Yamanashi Gakuin University coach Yuji Takada, a gold medalist at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and four-time world champion.

Takada's age record was set in 1974 when he claimed the 52-kg world title.

"I wanted to win a world title as soon as possible before the (2020) Tokyo Olympics so I'm glad I achieved that goal. It's going to be tougher at the Olympics so I have to aim high and improve my skills. I have a lot to work on, which is good," Otoguro said.

(Otoguro topples Punia)

"I feel bad for beating my coach's record but I admit I'm a little happy," he said.

Otoguro overcame a right foot injury he sustained during the drama-filled bout against Punia, the gold medalist at this year's Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, to emerge victorious in his world championships debut.

Otoguro took an early 5-0 lead on a four-point throw and was up 7-6 at the break. Though he twisted his foot in the second period, he proved to be technically superior by blocking Punia's bid to become India's second-ever gold medalist.

In the men's 92-kg freestyle, fellow Japanese competitor Atsushi Matsumoto earned the bronze medal, edging Mongolian Turtogtokh Luvsandorj 6-5.

In the men's 57-kg freestyle, 2017 world champion Yuki Takahashi rebounded from a semifinal loss to win one of two bronze medals with a 5-4 win over Reineri Andreu Ortega of Cuba.

In women's wrestling, Japan's Olympic gold medalist Risako Kawai (59-kg) and former world champion Mayu Mukaida (55-kg) each booked spots in their respective weight class finals, securing at least a silver medal.

Kawai, the reigning world champion, advanced with two comprehensive wins. Two months after suffering a shock semifinal defeat at this summer's Asian Games, Kawai defeated her first opponent, 2016 world champion Pei Xingru, 6-0.

Kawai then beat Belarus' Katsiaryna Yanushkevich by fall in the quarterfinals and continued her winning run with a 10-0 semifinal victory over Svetlana Lipatova of Russia.

"This time I'm here not to defend my title but simply to win. I want one more win," Kawai said.

Mukaida, the 55-kg world champion in 2016, advanced to her final by beating China's Qi Zhang 8-1 following a narrow 6-4 quarterfinal win over Sweden's Rio Olympic bronze medalist Sofia Mattsson.

The final berth gives Mukaida a chance for redemption after she blew a 6-0 advantage in last year's final, where she was defeated by Belarus' Vanesa Kaladzinskaya.

"Last year I took home the silver, so this time I am absolutely going to give it my all," she said.

Source: Google News Japan | Netizen 24 Japan

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