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Olympics: Fumita advances to final in men's wrestling

Japan's Kenichiro Fumita, right, competes against Ukraine's Lenur Temirov during the semi-final round of the men's 60kg Greco-Roman wrestling match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Aug. 1, 2021, in Chiba, Japan. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's Kenichiro Fumita booked a berth Sunday in the men's Greco-Roman 60-kilogram final on the opening day of the wrestling tournament at the Tokyo Olympics.

    Meanwhile, Japan's Hiroe Minagawa, the world silver medalist in the women's 76-kg freestyle in 2019, fell in the semifinals to Germany's Aline Rotter Focken.

    Fumita, the 2019 world champion, thrashed Lenur Temirov of Ukraine 5-1 in the semifinals and will meet Cuba's Luis Alberto Orta Sanchez in Monday's final at Makuhari Messe Hall.

    Fumita, making his Olympic debut, is trying to become the first Japanese Greco-Roman champion since Atsuji Miyahara achieved the feat in the 52-kg category at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

    "I kept it in my mind to put in a strong fight, and even though it was a low-scoring bout, I was able to do the type of solid wrestling I am good at. I'm a little relieved," said Fumita.

    Japan's men have won medals in 17 consecutive Olympic tournaments since the 1952 Helsinki Games, excluding the boycotted 1980 Moscow Olympics in which the country did not participate.

    "The women have been very productive in recent years and the men have also been bringing home medals for a long time, so I really want to too." Fumita said.

    In the other men's Greco-Roman 60-kg semifinal, Orta Sanchez hoisted Victor Ciobanu of Moldova in the air in a dynamic display before slamming his opponent to the mat for an 11-0 technical fall.

    Earlier, after Fumita's 8-0 rout of Abdelkarim Fergat of Algeria, he prevailed over China's Walihan Sailike, the victory coming on points, to advance to the semis.

    Minagawa, who was the third seed here, fell behind 0-1 in the first period against second-seed Rotter Focken before drawing even with a point in the second period, only to have the German sweep her legs out for a 3-1 win.

    "I thought that I could win when I grappled her at the start of the bout. My opponent has longer limbs, so I ended up falling behind as there were many times she was able to touch me first. I wasn't able to gain enough points," Minagawa said.

    The 33-year-old Minagawa, who is competing in her first Olympics, will wrestle in a bronze-medal match on Monday.

    "I wanted to be in the final, but I have another match ahead so I want to switch gears and do my best for that," she said.

    At 130 kg, the heaviest in Greco-Roman, 38-year-old Rio Olympic champion Mijain Lopez Nunez of Cuba defeated Turkey's Riza Kayaalp 2-0 to reach the final against Georgia's Iakobi Kajaia on Monday. There are no Japanese wrestlers competing in this category.

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