Japan’s Kenichiro Fumita wins silver in 60kg Greco-Roman wrestling at the Tokyo Games

Japanese wrestler Kenichiro Fumita won a silver medal after losing to Cuban Luis Orta Sanchez in the men’s Greco-Roman 60 kilogram final at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday.

Fumita, 25, was trying to become the first Japanese Greco-Roman wrestler to win Olympic gold since Atsuji Miyahara achieved the feat in the men’s 52kg weight category at the Los Angeles Games in 1984, but Orta Sanchez defeated the 2019 world champion. 5-1.

“I wanted to win and give back to all the volunteers, to all the people involved who made the Olympics happen in these difficult times. They believed in athletes more than we believed in ourselves. I’m really sorry for this disappointing result,” said Fumita, who was sobbing during his post-match interview.

Even with the loss of Fumita, Japan extended a streak of 17 consecutive Olympic medals won in men’s wrestling, including freestyle, dating back to the 1952 Helsinki Games, but excluding the Moscow Olympics. of 1980 which were boycotted by Japan and other nations.

Japan also took the podium in a third consecutive Greco-Roman Olympic tournament, after Shinobu Ota, silver medalist in 59kg at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, and Ryutaro Matsumoto, bronze medalist in 60kg at the London Games in 2012.

Fumita, a native of Yamanashi Prefecture, took full advantage of his throwing techniques to win the 59kg title on his 2017 world championship debut and again reached the top spot on the podium at 60kg in 2019. He beat Ota for a ticket. at the Tokyo Games, allowing him to make his Olympic debut.

Fumita never launched his attack in the final at Makuhari Messe Hall, with the Cuban taking a 4-0 lead in the first half before the Japanese wrestler netted a point in the second. Orta Sanchez scored another technical point to mark his authority at the end.

“It was such an honor to stand on the mat for the final, and I did it with the help of so many people, including my coaches and my family. I wanted to pay them back with the gold,” said Fumita said.

China’s Walihan Sailike and Russia’s Sergey Emelin won bronze medals in the Greco-Roman 60 kg category.

At 130kg, 38-year-old Cuban Mijain Lopez Nunez won an unprecedented fourth straight Olympic title in the heaviest weight class, beating Georgian Iakobi Kajaia 5-0 in the final. Turkey’s Riza Kayaalp, silver medalist in Rio, and Russia’s Sergei Semenov won bronze.

Japan’s Shohei Yabiku dropped to the Greco-Roman 77kg category in a 3-1 loss to 2019 world champion Tamas Lorincz of Hungary in his second fight of the day but qualified for a bronze medal game on Tuesday, courtesy of Lorincz’s strike. the final against Akzhol Makhmudov of Kyrgyzstan. Yabiku beat Kazak Demeu Zhadrayev 5-3 in his first fight of the day.

In the Greco-Roman 97 kg category, Russian Musa Evloev reached a final match against Armenian Artur Aleksanyan scheduled for Tuesday.

On the women’s side, Germany’s Aline Rotter Focken defeated American Adeline Gray 7-3 in the 76kg freestyle final.

Japan’s Hiroe Minagawa, who made her Olympic debut at 33, lost 2-0 to China’s Zhou Qian in a bronze medal match. She was aiming to become the first Japanese woman to medal in the heaviest category since Kyoko Hamaguchi’s bronze medal at the Beijing Games in 2008.

“We haven’t been able to get a medal in the heaviest weight class for so long, so I was determined to get one,” Minagawa said. “It was my last match and I wanted to give it my all but I couldn’t fight for the six minutes. I want to apologize to everyone who supported me here.

With Zhou, Turkey’s Yasemin Adar, the 2017 world champion at 75 kg, won the other bronze at 76 kg.

Earlier in the day in the women’s 68kg freestyle, Rio Olympic champion Sara Dosho suffered a shock loss to American Tamyra Stock Mensah, the 2019 world champion who beat the Japanese wrestler in a crash technical 10-0 in his opening match.

But Dosho managed to book a repechage berth and keep her bronze hopes alive after Stock Mensah qualified for the final, where she will face Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu on Tuesday.

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Robert J. King