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Kaori Icho earns bronze medal in international comeback

Kyodo

Kaori Icho wrapped up her first international tournament since the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Friday with a women’s 57-kg weight class bronze medal in the Asian Championships.

The 34-year-old became the first Japanese woman to fail to reach her final, when she lost her semifinal against North Korea’s Jong Myong Suk 7-4. But Icho bounced back to defeat Vietnam’s Thi My Trang Nguyen in their bronze-medal match.

“I cleared my mind ahead of the third-place bout,” said Icho, a four-time Olympic wrestling champion. “From the issues that arose in my three matches, I have a good idea of where I have to go with my training.

“I had some weak areas after I surrendered points, so I need to change my practice.”

Icho is making a comeback since news broke that she had suffered from power harassment at the hands of the Japan Wrestling Federation’s then-director of development. In October, she competed for the first time since Rio and won a national title in February, when she declared belatedly she would aim for a fifth Olympic title next year in Tokyo.

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