Chiba – Shohei Yabiku overcame a slow start to dominate the second period of his 77-kilogram Greco-Roman bronze medal match and defeat Iran’s Mohammadali Geraei 13-3 on Tuesday, while compatriot Yukako Kawai guaranteed at least a silver in the women’s 62-kg division.
Sara Dosho, the 2016 champion, missed out on a medal, losing her 68-kg bronze medal match to Ukraine’s Alla Cherkasova by fall 2 minutes, 33 seconds into their match at Chiba’s Makuhari Messe Hall, east of Tokyo.
Trailing 3-0 after the first period as he had in his 3-1 quarterfinal defeat on Monday, Yabiku roared back and delivered a pair of thundering throws, the second ending the bout by technical superiority with 6 seconds remaining.
“Since I became No. 1 in Japan, I’ve won medals in Asia, but haven’t been able to win medals on the international stage,” Yabiku said. “That’s why this has value for me.”
Kawai advanced to the women’s 62-kg gold medal match while getting some payback in a 3-2 semifinal win over Bulgaria’s Taybe Mustafa Yusein, who beat her in their final at the 2018 world championships.
Kawai, the younger sister of 2016 Olympic women’s 63-kg champion Risako Kawai, fell behind 2-0 but finished the first period tied before taking the lead in the second. She’ll now face world champion Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan in Wednesday’s final.
“My older sister Risako has a match tomorrow, so no matter what I wanted to give her some momentum, so I was determined to fight to the end until I won,” Yukako said. “She (Yusein) is an opponent who’s beaten me before, so I’m happy that I was able to exact some revenge.”
“My opponent in the final is someone I’ve wrestled many times, winning some, losing some. But this time, on the biggest stage, the Olympics, I’m going to do my best to the end in order to win.”
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