Medalists cheer restoration of wrestling to Olympics

Kyodo

Three London Olympics gold medalists gathered Monday at a shopping area in Itabashi Ward, Tokyo, to celebrate the restoration of wrestling by the International Olympics Committee.

Saori Yoshida, 30, Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu, 27, and Kaori Icho, 29, broke a decorative “kusudama” paper ball and celebrated with the public on Inari-dori Shopping Street in Itabashi, where about 200 people came to congratulate them.

Welcomed with a banner, colorful confetti and paper tape in the colors of the Olympic rings released from the kusudama, designed to resemble a gold medal, Yoshida said: “I’m going to stay active until the Tokyo Olympics.”

The street is popular with athletes, who train at nearby Ajinomoto National Training Center in Kita Ward, which is also used by the national wrestling team.

“In seven years, I’d like to change the name of this place to ‘Gold’ (Moon), ” said 68-year-old Sachiko Fujii, who runs the eatery Silver Moon, which serves stamina-building food in large portions. “I need to ask my husband, though.”

Wrestling had been cut but was restored to the 2020 Tokyo Games after intense lobbying.