JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda greets YOG wrestling gold medallist Yuki Takahashi.
Golden wrestling double for Japan
17 Aug 2010
Singapore: High-flying Japan completed a golden double on the third and final night of the YOG wrestling competition at the International Convention Centre on Tuesday. Following up the success of Yu Miyahara in the women’s 46kg freestyle on Monday, Yuki Takahashi won the men’s 54kg freestyle to increase Japan’s gold medal tally to three at the YOG.
“I watched the matches last night and thought ‘if the girls can do it the guys can do it, too,” said Takahashi, shortly after beating Azerbaijan’s Kanan Guluyev 8-0 in the final.
“This is my first competition at the world level but I was not nervous at all. I felt very relaxed and just focused on winning each match. It is a nice feeling to know that wrestling can connect you with the world. My next target is to compete in the Olympic Games.”
Takahashi was draped in a Hinomaru towel as he spoke to the media – a gift from the youngsters of his wrestling club in Mie Prefecture.
Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda was on hand to witness Japan’s third gold of the YOG – a run which started in the very first event, the girls’ triathlon, won by Yuka Sato on Sunday morning.
“The team is really together,” said Mr Takeda. “Winning the first gold medal of the YOG was a great achievement and has lifted everyone.”
Japan has a battery of talented female wrestlers, but the men have not been able to match the medal tally in recent Olympics after once being so strong.
“We had a great history in wrestling, with so many gold medals, but now we do not have so many strong male athletes,” added Mr Takeda. “I hope more young wrestlers come through because of the success here.”