Road to Rio; Wrestler Yoshida named Japan Olympic team captain

Saori Yoshida

The Japanese Olympic Committee has chosen e unbeaten Wrestler Saori Yoshida, the three-time defending Olympic women’s (53kg) champion to captain the country’s Rio de Janeiro Olympic delegation.

The 33-year-old Yoshida, who was Japan’s flag bearer at the 2012 London Olympics, will be the first woman to captain Japan at a Summer Games. Decathlete Keisuke Ushiro will carry Japan’s flag at Rio’s opening ceremony on Aug. 5.

The three times wrestling champion enjoyed unprecedented success on the international scene, going unbeaten in all the major events and collecting 12 straight world titles between 2002 and 2014, in the 55kg and then the 53kg categories.

Saori Yoshida 1

Yoshida last year won her 13th consecutive title at the world championships.

Ushiro, who holds the Japan decathlon record, won the event at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

She showcased all her technical prowess, power and tactical nous in winning the inaugural women’s Olympic wrestling competition at Athens 2004, clinching the gold with a commanding 6-0 defeat of Canada’s Tonya Verbeek in the final.

She successfully defended her title in Beijing four years later, getting the better of China’s Xu Li in the gold-medal bout, and then retained it once more at London 2012, extending her amazing Olympic winning streak in the process.

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