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Japan kicked off its campaign for its first title in two years with a strong start after wins over Canada, the United States and India on the opening day of the women’s wrestling World Cup on Friday.

Japan, led by the Olympic medal-winning quartet of Chiharu Icho (48 kg), Saori Yoshida (55 kg), Kaori Icho (63 kg) and Kyoko Hamaguchi (72 kg), defeated Canada 6-1, downed the United States 5-2 and overwhelmed India 7-0 at the two-day team event featuring six nations.

Olympic champion Yoshida struggled with her trademark turbocharged tackles in a bout against archrival Tela O’Donnell before defeating the American on points with a string of effective back techniques at Komazawa Gymnasium.

Five-time world champion Hamaguchi, whose bronze-medal finish in Athens was somewhat of a disappointment, allowed Canadian Ohenewa Akuffo to score on a reverse tackle in her opening match but tossed her opponent to the mat for a pin after 2 minutes in the first period.

“We did well today, I hope we can carry the momentum over to tomorrow,” Hamaguchi said.

Seiko Yamamoto, who underwent knee surgery in April, lost one of her matches at 59 kg, leaving her with a 1-1 record.

Japan will face China and Russia on the final day of the round-robin competition on Saturday.

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