Japan Sweeps Gold-Medal Matches on First Night of Women’s Freestyle

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – The Japanese women’s freestyle team went four-for-four in Thursday night’s U23 World Championship finals in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Haruna OKUNO and Yuzuru KUMANO each won their second World gold medals of the year.

Senior World champion and 2016 Cadet World champion Okuno bested Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) in the 55 kg finals with a 5-2 win.

The first takedown went to Kurachkina, but Okuno persisted and fought her way to five unanswered points and the third World gold medal of her young career.

Junior World champion Kumano also tallied her second World title of the year on Thursday, defeating 2014 Junior World champion Battsetseg ALTANTSETSEG (MGL).

Altantsetseg led at the break, 1-0. At the whistle, Kumano put the Mongolian to her back for four points and rolled right into a gut wrench. It was a lead that Altantseteg was unable to overcome. Kumano went on to win 6-1.

Points were flying at 63 kg, where Ayana GEMPEI (JPN) pulled out a last-second win over Braxton STONE (CAN), who was one of two finalists for Canada.

Now-four-time World medalist Stone held an 8-5 lead with 10 seconds left in the match. Forcing Stone toward the edge, Gempei threw the Canadian with a body lock for four points and an eventual 10-8 win.

At 75 kg, Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN) won with a technical fall over Gracelynn DOOGAN (CAN) in the second period. Matsuyuki’s offense proved to be too much as she fired off four takedowns en route World gold.

Finals results

55 kg
Gold – Haruna OKUNO (JPN) dec. Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR), 5-2
Bronze – Alina AKOBIIA (UKR) win by fall Bediha GUN (TUR)
Bronze – Nina MENKENOVA (RUS) dec. Simona PRICOB (ROU), 5-0

58 kg
Gold – Yuzuru KUMANO (JPN) dec. Battsetseg ALTANTSETSEG (MGL), 6-1
Bronze – Elin Johanna NILSSON (SWE) win by fall Xiaosen WANG (CHN)
Bronze – Tetyana KIT (UKR) dec. Alyona KOLESNIK (AZE), 3-1

63 kg
Gold – Ayana GEMPEI (JPN) dec. Braxton Rei STONE (CAN), 10-8
Bronze – Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE) win by fall Tatiana SMOLIAK (RUS)
Bronze – Moa Lena Maria NYGREN (SWE) win by fall Luzie MANZKE (GER)

75 kg

Gold – Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN) tech. fall Gracelynn DOOGAN (CAN), 12-2
Bronze – Francy RAEDELT (GER) tech. fall Mabelkis CAPOTE PEREZ (CUB), 14-4
Bronze – Anastasiia SHUSTOVA (UKR) win by fall Pooja POOJA (IND)

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