Brazilian, Japanese Wrestlers Battle, Work Together for 2016, 2020

By Ikuo Higuchi

TOKYO – The Brazilian and the Japanese wrestlers square off every day in full-bodied training and heated – sometimes contentious -- combat.  And thus begins a cooperative program between athletes of the host countries of the upcoming summer Olympic Games.

Brazil’s top female wrestlers are training with their Japanese counterparts at the national training center in northern Tokyo as part of program that emerged from a conversation between the heads of Brazilian and Japanese wrestling federations.

Brazilian wrestling confederation president Pedro Gama Filho and Japan’s Tomiaki Fukuda came up with the idea of an exchange between future Olympic Games hosts at a FILA Bureau meeting in Rome in February.

JWF president Fukuda is also a vice president of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) and Filho was nominated when wrestling executives met in February 2013 to the FILA Bureau for his contributions to wrestling as president of the host federation of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The arrival of the Brazilian women’s squad on May 10 marked the beginning of the exchange with plans to see the Japanese women visit Brazil in November for a joint training camp and compete in the Brazil Cup.

The Brazilian women are scheduled to return home 25 May.

“This exchange is something positive for the Brazilian wrestlers.  And, we hope that this cooperative relationship will continue for a long time,” Filho said in Tokyo. “As countries that will welcome the next Olympic Games, we want to do our best.”

“Through the exchange, we hope to strengthen each other and improve the Olympic Games to be hosted by each locale,” added Fukuda.

Tokyo, which hosted the first Olympic Games in Asia in 1964, was named the host city for the 2020 Games last September in Buenos Aires.  Rio de Janeiro will host the first Olympic Games in South America 5-21 August 2016.