Japan men’s and women’s teams announced for Men’s and Women’s Freestyle World Cup in Coralville, Iowa, December 10-11
by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling
Age-group World champions Moe Kiyooka (55 kg WFS), Tatsuya Shirai (86 kg, MFS) celebrate with the Japanese flag. Kiyooka photo by Kadir Caliskan/UWW; Shirai photo by Kostadin Andonov/UWW
The lineups for Japan, which will compete in both men’s freestyle and women’s freestyle at the Men’s and Women’s Freestyle World Cup, have been released.
The Men’s and Women’s Freestyle World Cup will be held at Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa, Dec. 10-11. It is the first time that men’s freestyle and women’s freestyle will be held together side-by-side at the World Cup.
The World Cup is the annual international dual meet championships, conducted by United World Wrestling. The top five teams in men’s freestyle and the top five teams in women’s freestyle from the 2022 Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia in September have confirmed their participation. There is also an All World Team in each discipline, featuring the top available athlete from the World Championships in each weight class that were not from a nation which qualified for the World Cup.
Japan is bringing a young women’s team, which features six athletes who have won age-group World titles, including three who have won multiple age-group World titles.
A three-time age group champion is Moe Kiyooka (55 kg), who won a pair of World titles in 2022, both a U23 and a U20 World title, and also won a 2019 U17 World title.
Two-time age-group World champions include Harano Sakurai (50 kg), and Ruka Natami (57 kg). Sakurai won the U17 World Championships in both 2017 and 2019. Natami earned a 2019 U17 World title and a 2022 U20 World title.
The other age-group World champions on the team are Himeka Tokuara (59 kg), Yui Sakano (62 kg) and Miyu Imai (65 kg). Tokuhara was a 2022 U23 World champion. Sakano, a 2017 U23 World champion, was also fifth in the 2016 Senior World Championships. Imai, a 2018 U20 World champion, was second in the 2018 Asian Senior Championships.
Japan, which was World Team champion at the 2022 World Championships in women’s freestyle, will be joined in the World Cup by second place United States, third place China, fourth place Mongolia and fifth place Ukraine, in addition to the All World Team.
The Japan men’s freestyle World Cup teams will feature some talented young athletes making an impact internationally.
A 2022 Senior World Team member on the roster is Takahashi Ishiguro (97 kg). Ishaguro was third in the 2021 Asian Championships.
Many of the team members have experience and success at the age-group levels. Tatsuya Shirai (86 kg) was a 2022 U23 World champion. Ryoma Anraku (65 kg) was a 2022 U23 World bronze medalist. Kirin Kinoshita (74 kg) was a 2018 University World champion. Yajiro Yamasaki (79 kg) won a silver medal at the 2018 University World Championships.
The Japan men’s freestyle team, which placed third at the 2022 World Championships, will be joined in the World Cup by first place United States, second place Iran, fourth place Mongolia and fifth place Georgia, in addition to the All World Team.
The rosters of the World Cup teams for the other nations will be announced over the next week by USA Wrestling. Find these stories on USA Wrestling’s website. (https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Wrestling)
Ticket packages for the 2022 Men’s and Women’s Freestyle World Cup are currently on sale. The seating capacity for Xtream Arena for the World Cup will be approximately 5,300. Ticket packages include a Gold package for $275, Silver package for $200 and All-Session tickets for $90.
A special Presentation of Teams and Team USA Meet & Greet will also be held on Friday, December 9 at 6:45 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
Men’s and Women’s Freestyle World Cup tickets
Japan Women’s Freestyle World Cup team
50 kg – Hanano Sakurai
53 kg – Rino Kataoka
55 kg – Moe Kiyooka
57 kg – Ruka Natami
59 kg – Himeka Tokuhara
62 kg – Yui Sakano
65 kg – Miyu Imai
68 kg – Kumi Kobayashi
68 kg – Yuka Fujikura
76 kg – Nodoka Yamamoto
Japan Men’s Freestyle World Cup team
57 kg – Taichi Yamaguchi
61 kg – Kaito Morikawa
65 kg – Ryoma Anraku
70 kg – Keitaro Ono
74 kg – Kirin Kinoshita
79 kg – Yajiro Yamasaki
86 kg – Tatsuya Shirai
92 kg - Sotoshi Miura
97 kg – Takahashi Ishiguro
125 kg – Hiroto Ninomiya