Japan’s MUKAIDA Mayu wins women’s wrestling freestyle 53kg

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Host nation celebrates third victory in women's wrestling as MUKAIDA Mayu claims victory in freestyle 53kg against People's Republic of China's PANG Qianyu who wins silver

MUKAIDA Mayu has continued Japan’s success in women’s wrestling at Tokyo 2020 by narrowly defeating People’s Republic of China’s PANG Qianyu in women’s freestyle 53kg.

The 24-year-old two-time world champion took down Pang in the closing minute at the Makuhari Messe Hall. Her victory is the host nation’s third gold medal in wrestling at Tokyo 2020.

Pang, who has won bronze in the event in the last two World Championships, had taken control at the start of the match by quickly going up 4-0, but in the second period Mukaida went on the attack and evened the score 4-4. It was only in the final stages that she took down Pang to win 5-4.

On coming from 4-0 down to beat Pang in the final, the new champion said: “I usually lead first but my opponents overtake me quite often. It was the other way around, I was behind. Pang was very strong, I wanted to beat her, and I was determined to get a gold medal. I continued to have that feeling throughout the six minutes.”

Mukaida also overpowered Mongolia’s Bolortuya Bat Ochir 6-3 in the semi-final, and in the earlier rounds Poland’s Roksana Zasina 12-2 and Cameroon’s Joseph Essombe Tiako 10-0.

The first of the two bronze medal matches was won by Belarus’ Vanesa Kaladzinskaya who defeated USA’s Jacarra Winchester by a fall at 4-2. Bat Ochir also won a bronze after she overpowered Essombe Tiako 14-4.

Japan won four of the six women’s events in wrestling at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.