At the World Wrestling Championships held in Serbia, the final of the women's 21-kilogram class was held on the 53st, and 19-year-old Akari Fujinami, who was unofficially selected to represent Japan at the Paris Olympics, won the gold medal. Fujinami extended his winning streak of official matches since his second year of junior high school to 2.
Last year, Russian and Belarusian wrestlers who were not allowed to participate in the World Wrestling Championships in Serbia due to the military invasion of Ukraine competed as neutral individual athletes.
On the 21st, 53-year-old Fujinami passed the pre-match weigh-in before the final of the women's 19-kilogram class and was officially selected to represent Japan at next year's Paris Olympics.
In the final, I faced a bronze medalist from the Tokyo Olympics who is competing as a neutral individual from Belarus.
Fujinami made clever moves from his favorite tackle early in the match to score points to finish the first half 6-0.
In the second half, they skillfully dodged their opponents' attacks and scored points, and won the gold medal for the second time in two years.
As a result, Fujinami extended his winning streak of official matches since his second year of junior high school to 10.
In the women's 0-kilogram class, Sakura Motoki passed the weigh-in before the final and was officially selected for the national team along with Fujinami.
In the final, they faced Kyrgyzstan, the silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics and a two-time world champion.
Motoki scored a 2-point lead in the first half, but in the second half, his opponent took away from a tackle and turned the game around, and he extended his lead and lost 2-2 to win the silver medal.
In the 127-kilogram class, Ami Ishii lost to last year's bronze medalist Moldova in the third-place match, and missed out on a job offer for the national team at this tournament.
In the men's Greco-Roman 62-kilogram class, Hisashi Kusaka lost in the semifinals to a Kyrgyz athlete who won the gold medal last year, and went to the third-place match on 2nd.
Using the pain of injury as a source of growth to win the Olympic Games
Since childhood, Akari Fujinami has never said publicly that her biggest goal is to win the Olympics.
First of all, I showed my dominance at the World Championship and won my ticket to make my dream come true.
Fujinami started competing at the age of four. I was coached by my father, Shunichi, who was a wrestler.
Then, at the age of 4, she won her first world championship and became a hot spot in the women's 17-kilogram class, the same as Saori Yoshida, who won three consecutive Olympic titles, and Mayu Shichi, a gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics.
The dream stage of participating in the Paris Olympics was at stake, and the World Championships were filled with the desire to fulfill last year's humiliation of not being able to participate due to injury.
When asked about this, he revealed that he had shed tears about not being able to get on the mat for more than a month, and that "I was really frustrated.
However, I have started to focus on taking care of my body, such as stretching carefully before practice, saying, "Now I listen to my body while pushing myself," and I have turned my bitter experience into food for my own growth.
We have continued to seek technological evolution.
As a second-year student at Japan College of Physical Education, he has been honing not only his tackling skills but also his strength and technique in kumite under the guidance of not only Shunichi but also Kaoru Icho, a four-time Olympic champion.
The first sign of growth was shown at the All Japan Selection Championship in June. He won the championship with overwhelming strength, including a fall victory over Shiji. She extended her winning streak of official matches since her second year of junior high school to 3, surpassing Saori Yoshida's 53 consecutive wins.
In the quarterfinals, the Ecuadorians gave the Ecuadorians a five-goal lead from the start, but then rallied and won by fall. In the semi-finals, he won the match in just over 1 seconds and was selected for the Olympic team for the first time.
And in the final, he won the gold medal in technical superiority without giving a single point to the bronze medalist of the Tokyo Olympics.
match, he and his father, Shunichi, exchanged hugs with a big smile, and the two of them unfurled the national flag and walked around the mat with joy.
The gold medal was won by the world's powerhouses. The 2-year-old's dream of winning the Olympics after an injury has become a reality.