Icho handed first loss since 2003


Ten-time world champion Kaori Icho suffered her first loss in 13 years on Friday, going down to Mongolian Orkhon Purevdorj in the final of the women’s 58-kg category at the Golden Grand Prix Ivan Yarygin in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

The 31-year-old Icho, the gold medal winner for the last three Olympics, eased to the final with three wins but succumbed to a 10-0 technical fall to the Mongolian after 5 minutes, 9 seconds.

“I couldn’t wrestle my way and this is the outcome. It was a good experience,” Icho said in a statement issued by the Japan Wrestling Federation. “I’d like to make this an opportunity to grow ahead of Rio.”

Icho had last lost by default in the Asian Championship in 2007, and her final defeat on the mat before Friday came in 2003 when she lost against Sara McMann of the United States. It was Icho’s first defeat in 190 bouts, according to the JWF.

Icho had her tackles countered as she trailed 5-0 in the first period and was uncharacteristically thrown to the floor as the deficit doubled in the second.

“I’ve heard she (Icho) couldn’t nail the tackles she was aiming for and got hurried,” Japan national team director Kazuhito Sakae said. “I’m relieved it wasn’t the Olympics. There’s enough time to put things right and I believe she can win her fourth straight Olympic title.”