ISTANBUL – Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu had to settle for wrestling silver after losing to Mehdi Taghavi Kermani of Iran in the men’s 66-kg freestyle final on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Yamanashi native, who defeated Kermani in the final at the Asian Games last year in Guangzhou, China, was beaten 2-0 in his bid to become the first Japanese man to win gold in a freestyle event at a worlds in 30 years.
However, Yonemitsu did become the first male Japanese wrestler to win silver in a freestyle event at a worlds since Takahiro Wada achieved the feat in the 62-kg division in 1995.
“He completely shut down my attack,” Yonemitsu said. “I have to figure out how to break down an opponent who has a strong defense. I would’ve been happier with a gold, but it was still a good experience. I have to clear this one hurdle with my attacking style, so I can win gold at the Olympics.”