Hitomi Sakamoto claimed the women’s 48-kg freestyle title in her return to the mat at the national invitational wrestling championships on Sunday.
Sakamoto, a six-time world champion at 51 kg, secured her spot on the national squad that will head to Moscow for the world championships in September.
The 29-year-old retired in October 2008 before deciding to come out of retirement in December last year and switching weight classes to 48 kg. It was her first meet in nearly a year and a half.
Sakamoto scored falls in the first match and semifinals, respectively, and dominated in the final against Chinami Abe with her tackle maneuvers and trademark ankle holds.
In men’s Greco-Roman action, Ryutaro Matsumoto defended the title at 60 kg while 2007 world silver medalist Makoto Sasamoto was defeated in the semifinals.
Atsushi Matsumoto won his first title at 84 kg in men’s freestyle and went on to win a playoff to book his ticket to Moscow along with his older brother Ryutaro.