Chicago Shimpo
Wrestler Saki Yoshikawa Wins the Second Place in the U.S.

• Saki Yoshikawa (12) won the second place at USMC Girls Folkstyle National Championships in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on March 24. Saki wrestled in the 14 under/ 79lb division and lost a close match by only one point, 2 to 1.
• Saki is going to challenge the first place in May at 2019 Women's National Championships in Irving, Texas. She has already won the top place in 2017, so her future challenge includes the Olympics.

• Saki started wrestling when she was a second grader in Tokyo. She happened to join a gymnastic exercise class where a past Olympian coach was teaching. Saki was gradually interested in wrestling and finally started it.

• Saki moved to Houston, Texas, in December 2016 due to her father’s job and joined a local club. She participated in multiple tournaments and won several top places. She was also selected as a member of the representative wrestling team of the state of Texas and participated in national competitions in the U.S.

• Saki’s family moved to the Chicago area last July again due to her father’s job. Now she belongs to the Arlington Cardinals Wrestling Club in Arlington Heights and has been practicing with a past Olympian coach.
• She usually participates in local tournaments where the wrestlers are mainly boys and has won the first place two times. She also competed in boys’ tournaments and became a finalist.

• Saki’s mother said that wrestling was popular in the Chicago area because of cold weather in the winter time, so the competition has become very hard compared to Texas or Tokyo.

• According to her mother, girls’ wrestling is freestyle in Olympics, but folkstyle, which emphasizes pinning techniques, is common in the U.S. Saki has learned three styles, free, folk, and Greco-Roman, and has participated in all three styles of tournaments.
• “Although Saki will choose freestyle in the future, learning those three styles will help her to obtain comprehensive techniques. That will help her future career,” the mother said.

• Saki is a sixth grader in a local school and a first grader of middle school in the Chicago Futabakai Saturday School, so she is quite busy with two schools and wrestling tournaments. She has been saddened not to be able to attend important events such as a graduation ceremony at the Saturday School. She managed to attend an enrollment ceremony of the middle school after a great struggle. She was still wearing her wrestling jersey at the ceremony.
• Besides, she needs to reduce her weight before a tournament. It is not easy for growing children like her. She is sometimes discouraged to continue her challenge, but her two elder brothers cheer her up by playing wrestling with her when they are at home.

Saki Yoshikawa (R) wins the first place at 2017 Women’s National Championship in Irving, Texas.

Saki Yoshikawa (L)