Japan off to mediocre start at wrestling worlds

MOSCOW (Kyodo) Kohei Hasegawa lost in the third round of the Greco-Roman 55-kg class as Japan’s men struggled to make an impact on the opening day of the 2010 World Wrestling Championships.

Hasegawa opened with victory over Uzbekistan’s Akbar Kusiev but came a cropper in his next bout, going down 2-0 to last year’s silver medalist Roman Amoyan of Armenia.

Katsuya Kitamura made an early exit in the 96-kg class with a second-round defeat to Beijing Olympic silver medalist Mirko Englich of Germany, while Tsutomu Fujimura was also eliminated in his first bout in the 66-kg division by Vladimir Pogudin of Uzbekistan.

It will likely be a different story for Japan in the women’s competition, with Saori Yoshida attempting to win her eighth consecutive world title in the 55-kg division and Kaori Icho, two-time Olympic champion at 63 kg, also in action on Thursday.