Yoshida to compete in 53-kg class


Saori Yoshida, who has won 14 consecutive gold medals in Olympic and world championship competitions, will wrestle in a new weight class at the 2016 Olympics, she said Wednesday.

Following Wednesday’s announcement by wrestling’s world body FILA that the women’s 55-kg class will no longer be included in the Olympics, Yoshida said she will begin adapting to the new 53-kg division starting in January.

“Although I have some concerns, it’s been decided and I will work within the rules and pursue this diligently,” Yoshida said.

Three of Japan’s gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics came in women’s wrestling, which will expand from four divisions to six at the Rio de Janeiro Games. The new weight divisions will be 48 kg, 53 kg, 58 kg, 63 kg, 69 kg and 75 kg.

Men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman were each reduced from seven weight classes to six. The changes were part of an overhaul of the sport after wrestling was briefly dropped from the program for the 2020 Games.