BUDAPEST – Yui Susaki, Haruna Okuno and Yukako Kawai secured berths in their women’s weight class finals at the World Wrestling Championships on Wednesday.
In her first 50-kg freestyle bout at Papp Laszlo Arena, the 19-year-old Susaki, the 48-kg world champion in 2017, needed just 1 minute, 30 seconds to defeat Romania’s Emilia Alina Vuc in a repeat of last year’s final.
She went on to beat Ritu Phogat of India 11-0 in the quarterfinals and earn a 10-0 technical fall over Oksana Livach of Ukraine in the semifinals, setting up a gold-medal clash against Rio Olympic silver medalist Mariya Stadnik of Azerbaijan.
“It’s going to be a tough match in the final. I’m desperate to take home that gold medal,” Susaki said.
In the 53-kg event, Okuno, the 55-kg champion last year, overcame a left elbow injury she sustained in the quarterfinal to outscore Poland’s Katarzyna Krawczyk 8-1 in the semifinal. Okuno’s final opponent will be American Sarah Ann Hildebrandt.
In the 62-kg class, Kawai came from behind to beat world champion Yuliia Tkach Ostapchuk of Ukraine 4-3 in the semifinals, and will face four-time world medalist Taybe Yusein of Bulgaria in the final.
Also for Japan, Ayana Gempei and Hiroe Minagawa clinched bronze in the women’s 65-kg and 76-kg categories, respectively. Gempei picked up her first senior world medal and Minagawa won by forfeit.
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