Chiharu Icho, winner of silver at the Beijing Olympics in the women’s 48-kg class, was defeated by world bronze medalist Yuri Kai in the final at 51 kg at the Wrestling National Championships on Tuesday.
Kai beat Icho 2-0 at Yoyogi National Gymnasium annex to win her first national crown in the competition, which also acts as a qualifier for next September’s world championships in Moscow.
“I had fun but, of course, I hate losing. This has fired me up even more,” said Icho, who just returned from studying abroad in Canada since April along with her younger sister Kaori, a two-time Olympic champion at 63 kg.
In other action, Makiko Sakamoto defended the title at 48 kg and won her fourth overall crown.
Meanwhile, Hiroyuki Oda upset Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Kenichi Yumoto in the men’s 60-kg freestyle semifinals en route to winning his first title. Kazuyuki Nagashima won his fourth consecutive title at 74 kg.