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Wrestling: Ota wins Greco-Roman worlds gold at non-Olympic weight

Shinobu Ota of Japan celebrates after winning the gold match of the men's Greco-Roman 63kg category against Stepan Maryanyan of Russia during the Wrestling World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, on Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Anvar Ilyasov)

NUR-SULTAN (Kyodo) -- Japan's Shinobu Ota won the gold medal Sunday in the men's Greco-Roman 63-kilogram class at the world championships, which is also a qualification event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    Ota, a Greco-Roman 59-kg silver medalist at the Rio Games, beat Russia's Stepan Maryanyan 10-4, the win over the defending champion justifying his decision to compete in the non-Olympic weight category after failing to make the national team at 60-kg.

    "It feels great. There's no better feeling. I fought knowing I could win," said Ota, who took control of the match when, with less than two minutes left, he scored off a front headlock.

    "I'm relieved for now, but I'm more worried about what's going to happen as far the Olympics go," he said.

    In the men's 55-kg, Ota's compatriot Shota Ogawa scored an 11-2 technical fall over China's Cao Liguo in the bronze medal match.

    The 29-year-old Ogawa said it is his first medal at an international competition, and he is pleased to take the podium in his world championships debut.

    "I was able to go aggressively. It doesn't mean anything if you don't win (the title) but I'm still happy to have gotten a bronze medal at the worlds," Ogawa said.

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