Photo: Yuzuru Kumano getting her hand raised after winning 58 kg gold. Photo provided by United World Wrestling.
BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – Team Japan swept the gold medal bouts on night one of women’s freestyle competition at the U23 World Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on Thursday night.
Winning for Japan was Haruna Okuno at 55 kg/121 lbs., Yuzuru Kumano at 58 kg/128 lbs., Ayana Gempei at 63 kg/139 lbs. and Yashua Matsuyuki at 75 kg/165 lbs.
2017 Senior World champion and 2016 Cadet World champion Okuno defeated 2017 Senior World bronze medalist Iryna Kurachkina of Belarus.
Kurachkina was first on the board with a takedown, but Okuno fought bought to take a 2-2 lead on criteria into the break. A passivity point and double-leg takedown on the edge gave the Japanese force a 5-2 win and her second World title of the year.
Also picking up her second World gold of 2017 was Kumano, who won a Junior World title in Tampere, Finland, this summer.
Kumano trailed 2014 Junior World champion Battseteg Altantegseg of Mongolia, 1-0, at the break but roared back, picking up a four-point throw in the opening seconds of the second period, followed by two points on the gut wrench. She held on for a 6-1 victory.
In a bout that featured three lead changes, 2016 Junior World champion Gempei edged out three-time age-group World medalist Braxton Stone of Canada, 10-8, in the final seconds of the 63 kg final.
Stone led 8-5 with 10 seconds left. Gempei executed a body lock for a huge throw on the edge to take over the lead, 9-8. Canada challenged, but the challenge failed, resulting in a point for Gempei and a 10-8 win.
At 75 kg, it was Japan vs. Canada, once again. Matsuyuki battled 2014 Junior Pan Am silver medalist Gracelynn Doogan.
Matsuyuki jumped out to an 8-2 lead after the first period, thanks, in part, to three takedowns. In the final period, she finished off the match with a takedown and two step outs for a 12-2 technical fall.
Tomorrow is the start of the women’s freestyle competition. Representing the USA is Cody Pfau (48 kg), Amy Fearnside (53kg), Kayla Miracle (60 kg) and Forrest Molinari (69 kg).
The preliminary rounds begin at 10 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET), with the medal matches beginning at 6 p.m. (12 p.m. ET) each day. Bydgoszcz is six hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern time zone.
Fans can find live streams and brackets on Trackwrestling.com.
2017 U23 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Bydgoszcz, Poland (Six hours ahead of ET)
55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold - Haruna OKUNO (JPN) dec. Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR), 6-2
Bronze - Alina AKOBIIA (UKR) win by fall Bediha GUN (TUR)
Bronze - Nina MENKENOVA (RUS) dec. Simona PRICOB (ROU), 5-0
58 kg/128 lbs.
Gold - Yuzuru KUMANO (JPN) dec. Battsetseg ALTANTSETSEG (MGL), 6-1
Bronze - Elin Johanna NILSSON (SWE) win by fall Xiaosen WANG (CHN)
Bronze - Tetyana KIT (UKR) dec. Alyona KOLESNIK (AZE), 3-1
63 kg/139 lbs.
Gold - Ayana GEMPEI (JPN) dec. Braxton Rei STONE (CAN), 10-8
Bronze - Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE) win by fall Tatiana SMOLIAK (RUS)
Bronze - Moa Lena Maria NYGREN (SWE) win by fall Luzie MANZKE (GER)
75 kg/165 lbs.
Gold - Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN) tech. fall Gracelynn DOOGAN (CAN), 12-2
Bronze - Francy RAEDELT (GER) tech. fall Mabelkis CAPOTE PEREZ (CUB), 14-4
Bronze - Anastasiia SHUSTOVA (UKR) win by fall Pooja POOJA (IND)