Yonemitsu earns trip to worlds

Kyodo News

World bronze medalist Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu won the men’s 66-kg freestyle to defend his wrestling title at the National Invitational Championships on Saturday.

Yonemitsu beat national champion Kazuhiko Ikematsu 2-0 in a playoff to decide a spot on the national team that will travel to Moscow to compete at the world championships in September.

He also defeated Ikematsu by the same score in the final at Yoyogi National Gymnasium Annex.

Yonemitsu was taking part in his first official meet since shrugging off a shoulder injury to win the bronze last September.

A wrestler can book a spot in the world championships by winning last year’s national championships and the national invitational, but otherwise must battle it out in a playoff.

Ayako Shoda, who won the women’s national crown at 59 kg, fell in her first match against Kayoko Shimada before beating Shimada 2-0 in the playoff. Shoda will make her first appearance in two years at the worlds.