Ozaki

For any aspiring athlete, securing a berth at the Olympics is a dream come true. So, when Nonoka Ozaki missed out on this opportunity at the 2023 World Wrestling Championships, she immediately fell into despair.

On September 20th, spectators at the World Wrestling Championships 2023 saw some of the world’s best athletes compete, including Japanese wrestlers Nonoko Ozaki and compatriots Yui Susaki, Sakurai Tsugumi, and Kagami Yuka. The four of them concluded their respective bouts with gold medals, demonstrating Japan’s dominant performance on Day 5 of the event.

However, one athlete went home with a heavy heart.

Ozaki disheartened on missing out at Olympics

Ozaki, the twenty year-old female Japanese wrestler, took to the mat of the Štark Arena to show off her undeniable prowess as a grappler. Having won the gold medal last year at the 2022 World Wrestling Championships, she replicated her victory in Belgrade when she won against her competitors and defeated American Macey Kilty without conceding a point. She won with a dominant 10-0 victory.

Results:
Gold – Ozaki Nonoka (JPN)
Silver – Macey Kilty (USA)
Bronze – Mimi Hristova (BUL)
Bronze – Lili Lili (CHN)

Ozaki initially rejoiced over her victory in the 65 kg division. But her joy was swiftly eclipsed by disappointment when she learned that the weight class in which she had competed was not contested at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Following the realization that she had failed to qualify for the Olympic Games, Ozaki was observed to be in a state of emotional distress, crying and emitting a sigh of exasperation backstage.

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“When I won the title, it hit me that it wasn’t an Olympic weight,” Ozaki said after the match.

In her place, Sakura Motoki secured a berth for Japan at the Paris Olympics by advancing to the 62 kg final of the same event.

“It was tough to see someone else clinch the team spot in my weight class. It was my own fault. Sports is like that. I have to accept it.”

Currently, the Olympics only contest the following weight divisions for women’s wrestling: 50 kg, 53 kg, 57 kg, 62 kg, 68 kg, and 76 kg. Seeing Ozaki’s talents in the Stark Arena, Japan lost out on an incredibly talented wrestler that could contribute to their nation’s success in next year’s Olympics.

In the previous Summer Olympics, Japan hosted the event at the Makuhari Messe Hall and dominated the women’s wrestling category just as they did on the Serbian ground. Out of the six gold medals, they snared four gold medals.

Next year, fans are anticipating whether Japan will once again reign supreme at the wrestling competition at the 2024 Paris Olympics, which will be held from July 26, 2024, to August 11, 2024.

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