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|Numerous Olympic stars expected at Women’s World Cup in Nagoya, Japan, May 20-21|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
The top six ranked national teams in the world in women's wrestling will be showcased at the Women's World Cup in Nagoya, Japan, May 20-21
At the 2005 World Championships, Japan won the team title, followed by China in second, the United States in third, Canada in fourth, Russia in fifth and Ukraine in sixth. All six of these nations will be in the field at the competition this weekend.
In addition, numerous past Olympic and World champions and medalists will be featured in the competition, which is the annual world dual meet championships.
"The World Cup is a tough meet," said Terry Steiner, USA Wrestling's National Women's Coach. "There isn't an easy team in the field. Every team offers challenges. Hopefully, we can learn a lot and come back with a victory."
Host Japan is the defending World Cup team champions, and has a power-packed tentative lineup in the competition.
Included on the team roster are 2004 Olympic champions Saori Yoshida (121) and Kaori Icho (138), along with Olympic medalists Chiharu Icho (105.5) and Kyoko Hamaguchi (158.5). All four of these Olympic medalists have also been World Champions in the past. Hamaguchi has won five World titles, Kaori Icho owns four World titles, Yoshida has four World titles and Chiharu Icho has one World title.
Other past World champions on the Japanese roster include Hitomi Sakamoto (112.25), Seiko Yamamoto (130) and Ayako Shoda (138.75).
The United States, the World Cup team champions in 2004, also has an experienced team, which includes Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann (Iowa City, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. and Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda (New Haven, Conn./Sunkist Kids) at 51 kg/112.25 lbs. Miranda has won two World silver medals, and McMann has a World silver medal and a World bronze medal.
Also on the U.S. roster is two-time World champion and seven-time World medalist Kristie Marano (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. Other world medalists on the U.S. roster are Sally Roberts (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 59 kg/130 lbs. and Katie Downing (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 67 kg/147.5 lbs.
China will be led by 2005 World champion Ren Xueceng, who won her World title at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. but has moved up to 51 kg/112.25 lbs. Two athletes who placed second at the 2005 World Championships, Su Lihui at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Jing Ruixue at 67 kg/147.5 lbs., will also be on the Chinese team.
Russia's team will have a number of athletes with Olympic and World credentials. Alena Kartashova, a 2002 World champion, is on the roster at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. Natalia Golts, a three-time World bronze medalist, will compete at 55 kg/121 lbs. Other past World medalists on the Russian roster are Inga Karamchakova at 51 kg/112.25 lbs., Liubov Volosova at 59 kg/130 lbs. and Elena Perepelkina at 67 kg/147.5 lbs.
Canada's team is led by 2004 Olympic silver medalist Tonya Verbeek at 55 kg/121 lbs. Verbeek was also third in the 2005 World Championships. Carol Huynh, a three-time World medalist, will compete at 105.5 lbs. Huynh won a World silver medal in 2001, and World bronze medals in 2000 and 2005.
Ukraine's most successful wrestler, 2004 Olympic champion Irini Merlini, is listed at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. Merlini also won World titles in 2000, 2001 and 2003, and was a World silver medalist in 2005. Other World medalists on the Ukrainian roster are Tatiana Lazareva at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Svetlana Sayenko at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.
"We will use this event to prepare for the World Championships," said U.S. coach Steiner. "The top six teams in the world will be there. We will see where we are at, and what we need to change, in our preparations for the World Championships."
2006 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP ROSTERS
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Carol Huynh
51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Belinda Chow
55 kg/121 lbs. - Tonya Verbeek
59 kg/130 lbs. - Breanne Graham
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Megan Dolan
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Megan Buydens
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Ohenewa Akuffo
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Liao Rong
51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Ren Xueceng
55 kg/121 lbs. - Su Lihui
59 kg/130 lbs. - Wang Ying
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Xu Haiyan
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Jing Rinxue
72 kg/158.5 lbs. -Xiao Li
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Chiharu Icho or Makiko Sasamoto
51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Hitomi Sakamoto or Yuri Kai
55 kg/121 lbs. - Saori Yoshida or Chikako Masukawa
59 kg/130 lbs. - Seiko Yamamoto or Mio Nishimaki
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Kaori Icho or Ayako Shoda
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Mami Shinkai or Yoshiko Inoue
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Kyoko Hamaguchi or Ayako Murashima
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Lilya Kaskarakova or Lorisa Oorzhak
51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Natalia Smirnova or Inga Karamchakova
55 kg/121 lbs. - Natalia Golts
59 kg/130 lbs. - Liubov Volosova
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Alena Kartashova
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Elena Perepelkina or Natalia Kuksina
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Darya Nazarova or Alena Starodubtseva
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Irini Merlini or Mariya Stadnyk
51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Aleksandra Kohut or Viktoriya Yemelyanova
55 kg/121 lbs. - Tatiana Lazareva or Mariyana Bavdyk
59 kg/130 lbs. - Elena Komarova or Nataliya Synyshyn
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Olga Butkevich, Anna Vasylenko or Lyudmila Golovchenko
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Valeriya Zlatova or Marynan Kvyatkovska
72 kg/158.5 lbs. -Svitlana Sayenko or Nadiya Sementsova
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Clarissa Chun, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Patricia Miranda, New Haven, Conn. (Sunkist Kids)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Sharon Jacobson, El Cajon, Calif. (USOEC/Gator WC)
59 kg/130 lbs. - Sally Roberts, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Sara McMann, Iowa City, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Katie Downing, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Kristie Marano, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
2006 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP SCHEDULE
at the Inaei Sports Center in Nagoya, Japan
Saturday, May 20
3;30 p.m. - Opening Ceremonies
4:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. - Elimination Rounds
Sunday May 21
10:00 a.m. - 11:40 a.m. - Elimination Rounds
12:00 noon - Fifth place match
12:50 p.m. - Third place match
1:50 p.m. - Championship match