Photo: Kika Kagata (Japan), a Junior World champion and three-time Cadet World champion, leads Japan at the Beat the Streets Los Angeles 4th Annual Benefit. Photo by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling.
For immediate release.
LOS ANGELES – International women’s wrestling power Japan will bring a young, dynamic team to compete against the United States at the Beat the Streets Los Angeles 4th Annual Benefit being held at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center on October 29.
The friendly exhibition will feature 10 bouts between the top two women’s wrestling programs in the world. The newly established weight categories, as announced last month by United World Wrestling, will be utilized for the competition.
Five of the 10 Japanese women expected to compete in Los Angeles have won a gold medal at either the Cadet or Junior World Championships. Three others have won a World-level medal in the Cadet or Junior division.
Headlining for Japan is reigning Junior World champion Kika Kagata at 50 kg/110 lbs. Kagata went unchallenged at the Junior World Championships held in Tampere, Finland, last month, downing all of her competitors by either technical fall or pin. She is a three-time Cadet World champion and two-time Junior Asian champion.
Two-time Junior World champion and Cadet World champion Rino Abo will represent Japan at 76 kg/167 lbs. Abo has not competed internationally in 2017, but does own a silver medal from the 2016 Asian Championships.
Three of Japan’s middleweights have a Cadet World title on their resume. 55 kg/121 lbs. entrant Andoria Hanako Sawa and 62 kg/136 lbs. combatant Atena Kodama secured gold at the 2016 Cadet Worlds in Tbilisi, Georgia. Yoshimi Kayama, who will compete at 57 kg/125 lbs., was a 2012 Cadet World champion and 2015 Junior World silver medalist. Kayama also won a silver medal at the 2015 Asian Championships.
Kiwa Sakae, a 2015 World Team member for Japan, will take the mat at 59 kg/130 lbs. She was a Junior World bronze medalist three years ago.
A pair of past Cadet World runners-up are slated to compete for Japan at 65 kg/143 lbs. and 72 kg/158 lbs. Miwa Morikawa won Cadet World silver in 2016 and was a Cadet Asian champion in 2015. Mei Shindo doubled as a Cadet World silver medalist, making the finals in 2013 and 2015.
Rounding out the list of Japanese competitors are Mai Hayakawa at 68 kg/150 lbs. and Yuri Yonamine at 53 kg/116 lbs. Both women have represented Japan at the Junior World Championships, but were unable to grab a medal. Hayakawa did earn a bronze medal at this year’s Junior Asian Championships.
The U.S. lineup for the Beat the Streets Los Angeles 4th Annual Benefit will be announced in the coming weeks.
The competition serves not only as an excellent opportunity to highlight women’s wrestling, but also to showcase Los Angeles as host of the 2028 Olympics. Furthermore, BTSLA will honor Anita DeFrantz, Olympic athlete and International Olympic Committee member, with its inaugural Leaders in Sport Award.
All proceeds of the 4th Annual Benefit Weekend will be directed to BTSLA’s programming efforts. The nonprofit’s signature program features wrestling events alongside leadership-building activities and personal mentoring in 24 schools and neighborhood training centers. In addition, BTSLA operates a summer Futures Camp and Downtown Los Angeles Wrestling Academy. Over 650 boys and girls annually benefit from these offerings.
For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.btsla.org.
BEAT THE STREETS LOS ANGELES 4TH ANNUAL BENEFIT
At Los Angeles, October 29
3 p.m. – Japan vs. United States at Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
5:30 p.m. – Benefit celebration at Japanese American National Museum
50 kg/110 lbs. – Kika Kagata
53 kg/116 lbs. – Yuri Yonamine
55 kg/121 lbs. – Andoria Hanako Sawa
57 kg/125 lbs. – Yoshimi Kayama
59 kg/130 lbs. – Kiwa Sakae
62 kg/136 lbs. – Atena Kodama
65 kg/143 lbs. – Miwa Morikawa
68 kg/150 lbs. – Mai Hayakawa
72 kg/158 lbs. – Mei Shindo
76 kg/167 lbs. – Rino Abo
Team Leader and Head Coach – Toshihiro Naritomi
Assistant Coach – Kazuhide Tomida
Assistant Coach – Yayoi Odagaki
About Beat the Streets Los Angeles
Beat the Streets Los Angeles (BTSLA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that cultivates sports-based youth development in underserved neighborhoods throughout the greater Los Angeles area. The only organization in Los Angeles of its kind, Beat the Streets’ mission is to empower and transform the lives of youth through the sport of wrestling.
About USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling is the National Governing Body for the Sport of Wrestling in the United States and, as such, is its representative to the United States Olympic Committee and United World Wrestling, the international wrestling federation. Simply, USA Wrestling is the central organization that coordinates amateur wrestling programs in the nation and works to create interest and participation in these programs. It has over 220,000 members across the nation, boys and girls, men and women of all ages, representing all levels of the sport. Its president is Bruce Baumgartner, and its Executive Director is Rich Bender. More information can be found at TheMat.com