Chinese teenager Wang wins 72kg wrestling
Updated: 2004-08-24 07:01
China's Olympic champion Wang Xu (R) grapples
with Russia's Gouzel Maniourova (top) on her way to win gold in their
freestyle wrestling (under 72kg) finals match at the Athens 2004 Olympic
Games August 23, 2004. [Reuters]
Japan's Kyoko Hamaguchi (R), with a bruised
eye, looks over at China's Olympic champion Wang Xu (C) and Russia's
silver medallist Gouzel Maniourova (L) during their awards ceremony for
freestyle wrestling (under 72kg) at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games August
23, 2004. [Reuters]
China's Olympic champion Wang Xu (R)
celebrates as she wins gold against Russia's Gouzel Maniourova (L) in
their freestyle wrestling (under 72kg) finals match at the Athens 2004
Olympic Games August 23, 2004.
When she arrived in Athens, she was unnoticed. But when she left the
birthplace of the Olympic Games, she has made her rivals shivering along the
Wang Xu, a teenaged high school student from China, completed
amission-impossible when she defeated five-time world champion Kyoko Hamaguchi
of Japan en route to winning a women's freestyle wrestling gold medal at the
Olympic Games on Monday.
The mighty Hamaguchi, daughter of former Japanese pro wrestling star Heigo
"Animal" Hamaguchi, was unbeaten over the past two years and thought to be all
But the 19-year-old Wang achieved the unthinkable by beating Hamaguchi 6-4 in
the semifinal of the women's 72kg category freestyle wrestling.
During the match, the referee awarded Wang two points in a move Hamaguchi
initiated. Hamaguchi's father was infuriated at the decision and stood up
shouting from the stands.
"I think the score was correct. When you lose, you lose," said Hamaguchi, who
carried Japan's flag at the opening ceremony of the Games, after taking the
bronze in the evening.
"I was able to learn about life. That's more valuable than the gold medal,"
she said philosophically.
Inspired by the historic victory, Wang outpointed Russian Gouzei Maniourova
7-2 in the final, bagging her first major international title.
"I'm so excited about winning the gold medal," Wang said afterwards. "I never
thought the way to triumph was so smooth."
Wang, a native of Beijing, took up the sport of judo in 1998 and switched to
wrestling one year later.
When asked about her comments on the opinion that wrestling is a sport only
for men, Wang said, "Men and women are equal. Since men can wrestle against each
other, why can't we women?"
Women's wrestling is for the first time included in the OlympicGames as a
Wang, a high-school student, has already put her eye on the Beijing 2008
"I hope to win another gold at home in 2008," she said.