Source: Xinhua

08-17-2008 20:38

Special Report:   2008 Beijing Olympic Games

BEIJING, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Kaori Icho retained her Olympic title in the women's freestyle 63kg wrestling here on Sunday and earned the second wrestling gold for Japan at the Beijing Games.

Kaori Icho of Japan celebrates after beating Alena Kartashova of Russia during the women's freestyle 63 kg gold medal match of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Wrestling event in Beijing, China, Aug. 17, 2008. Kaori Icho beat Alena Kartashova and grabbed the gold.(Xinhua Photo)
Kaori Icho of Japan celebrates after beating Alena Kartashova of 
Russia during the women's freestyle 63 kg gold medal match of Beijing 
2008 Olympic Games Wrestling event in Beijing, China, Aug. 17, 2008. 
Kaori Icho beat Alena Kartashova and grabbed the gold.(Xinhua Photo)

Icho, 24, defeated Alena Kartashova of Russia by winning each of the two bouts in overtime. She became the second woman to successfully defend the Olympic title after teammate Saori Yoshida won the trophy in 55kg on Saturday. Yoshida, as well as Icho, were champions at Athens Games.

"Both energy and techniques are no problem to me," said Icho. "I just had a bad temper entering the matches."

Icho's elder sister, Chiharu Icho, won silver in women's 48kg on Saturdays, losing to Canadian Carol Huynh in the final. Chiahru also won silver in Athens.

"My sister failed to win the gold yesterday and it had an impact on me," said Kaori Icho after winning the title. "Before going to Beijing, both of us made promises to each other that we would win golds."

"But her dream broke. And I began to wonder whether I could win. Chiharu encouraged me and told me to be brave."

"She gave me strength to win the gold. And this gold belongs to both of us!" added Icho.

For six straight years, Icho has won all but one gold medals in the 63kg freestyle, including the Athens Games in 2004. As a model of consistency, she almost made others compete for the silver in the speciality.

"I trained hard since Athens Games," said Icho. "The final match was very long. At some moments, I even thought I was going to lose. But I kept telling myself to win, and I did it."

"This is a moment of happiness. I'm happy for what I achieved, although I came here for gold," said Yelena Shalygina of Kazakhstan who finished joint third with Randi Miller of United States. "This is a great honor for me and my country."

"I think my young age is to my advantage," said 20-year-old Shalygina. "I'm going to the next Olympics and my target will still be gold."

Randi Miller earned the bronze medal by defeating Canadian Martine Dugrenier. She reversed the match at the final seconds to win by 1-0, 1-2, 1-0.

"I was looking for the front headlock but not getting it, and I was running out of time," said Miller. "Everyone is guilty of stopping at the end of a period and getting burned."


Editor:Si Qintu