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Japan have won two golds in the women's freestyle wrestling at the London Olympics

Updated: Wednesday, 08 Aug 2012 20:27 | Comments

An emotional Hitomi Obara celebrates her victory
An emotional Hitomi Obara celebrates her victory

Japan's Kaori Icho cruised to her third successive Olympic gold in the 63kg women's freestyle wrestling at the London Olympics.

She easily beat China's Jing Ruixue to complete a hat-trick of golds after success in Beijing in 2008 and Athens in 2004, when women first competed in Olympic wrestling.

Icho, wearing a bright red leotard emblazoned with a roaring tiger's head, waved to the hundreds of Japanese supporters in the packed wrestling arena.

A seven-time world champion, Icho had been the clear favourite to retain her title in the second heaviest Olympic weight class.

Earlier, Japan's Hitomi Obara came from behind to win gold in the final of the lightest women's freestyle wrestling division.

She beat Mariya Stadnyk of Azerbaijan to add the Olympic 48kg title to the eight world championships she has won in a dazzling career.

Obara fell to her knees on the wrestling mat and wept with her head in her hands as Japanese supporters erupted in the packed arena. Obara lost the first of three rounds, but fought back to win the next two.

The pair had also met in last year's world championship final, a closely fought contest that Obara also won.

Clarissa Kyoko Mei Ling Chun of the United States won the bronze medal when she beat Ukraine wrestler Irini Merleni.

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Medal Table

Country Total
USA 45 27 30 102
China 38 28 23 89
Great Britain 29 17 19 65
Russia 25 25 32 82
South Korea 13 8 7 28
Ireland 1 1 3 5
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