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    Talented Japan team to battle USA at Beat the Streets Benefit event

    Sosuke Takatani is a two-time Olympian

    NEW YORK -- World wrestling power Japan will compete in the Beat the Streets Benefit event for the first time, it was announced today by Beat the Streets Wrestling, Inc. and USA Wrestling.

    The Japanese team brings a squad of eight Senior men's freestyle wrestlers and three Senior women's freestyle wrestlers. This year's event will take place in Times Square's Duffy Square (between 46th and 47th streets) on Wednesday, May 17 in the seventh annual wrestling celebration. Competitors for Team USA, which will include members of the 2016 Olympic team as well as other elite stars, will be announced in April.

    It is a young and talented Japanese squad, with considerable international achievements. The men's team is led by 2014 World silver medalist and two-time Olympian Sosuke Takatani at 74 kg/163 lbs. Takatani placed seventh at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and also competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games. He has been on three Japanese Senior World Teams.

    Two-time age-group World medalist Daichi Takatani will wrestle men's freestyle at 65 kg/143 lbs. Takatani was a 2011 Cadet World bronze medalist and a 2014 Junior World bronze medalist. He also placed seventh in the 2014 Senior World Championships.

    Nobuyoshi Takojima was fifth at the 2015 Senior World Championships at 70 kg/154 lbs.. Shinjo Arimoto, who wrestles at 61 kg/134 lbs., was also a member of Japan's 2016 Senior World Championship team. Rinya Nakamura, who will compete at 57 kg/125.5 lbs., was a 2011 Cadet World medalist for Japan.

    All three of the women wrestling for Japan have won medals at the World level at either the Senior or age-group levels.

    2014 Senior World champion Chiho Hamada leads the women's delegation at 58 kg/128 lbs. Hamada also boasts gold medals from the 2014 University World Championships and the 2012 Junior World Championships. She won a silver medal at the 2016 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia.

    Yuki Irie, who wrestles at 48 kg/105.5 lbs., won both a Junior World title and a University World title in 2012. Most recently, she was a 2016 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix champion in Russia and a 2015 Senior Asian champion.

    Young Miwa Morikawa was a 2016 Cadet World silver medalist, and will wrestle at 69 kg/152 lbs. in women's freestyle.

    The Japanese delegation will be led by very accomplished wrestlers who are now in leadership positions. The Team Leader is 1992 Olympic silver medalist Kosei Akaishi, who competed in three Olympic Games. The women's coach is Shinichi Yumoto, who was a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist. Coaching the men's team is 1984 Junior World champion Ryo Kanehama.

    Japan joins a growing list of wrestling powers who have participated in past Beat the Streets events, with previous teams including Iran, Russia, Cuba and Canada. In 2014, a World All-Star team competed against the USA, with athletes from Russia, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Canada, Spain, Venezuela, and Ukraine in the lineup. This has truly become a highlight event on the annual international wrestling schedule.

    The decision on who will compete for Team USA will be influenced by the results from the U.S. Open in men's freestyle and World Team Trials in women's freestyle, set for Las Vegas, Nev., April 25-29.

    At New York, May 17

    Team Japan roster

    Men's freestyle
    57 kg/125.5 lbs. - Rinya Nakamura
    61 kg/134 lbs. - Shingo Arimoto
    65 kg/143 lbs. - Daichi Takatani
    70 kg/154 lbs. - Nobuyoshi Takojima
    74 kg/163 lbs. - Sosuke Takatani
    86 kg/189 lbs. - Takahiro Murayama
    97 kg/213 lbs. - Koki Yamamoto
    125 kg/275 lbs. - Katsutoshi Kanazawa

    Women's freestyle
    48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Yuki Irie
    58 kg/128 lbs. - Chiho Hamada
    69 kg/152 lbs. - Miwa Morikawa
    Team Leader - Kosei Akaishi
    Freestyle Coach - Shinichi Yumoto
    Women's Coach - Ryo Kanehama

    The world-class competition has been hosted in Times Square five previous times. In 2011, the United States defeated World Champion Russia, 5-2, the first sports event ever held in historic Times Square. In 2012, another U.S. vs. Russia dual meet was held in Times Square, along with the U.S. Olympic Team Wrestle-off for the 60 kg/132 lbs. position on the U.S. Olympic Team in men's freestyle. In 2014, Team USA defeated a World All-Star Team in Times Square, 8-3. In 2015, "Salsa in the Square" featured a meeting between Team USA and Team Cuba in the three Olympic styles, held shortly after the historic change in USA and Cuban political relations. Last year the US met Iran in a dual meet in Times Square as a preview to the 2016 Olympic Games.

    This will be the eighth straight year in which a major international-style wrestling competition will be hosted as part of the Beat the Streets Benefit activities. In 2010, an all-star challenge featuring top U.S. wrestlers was held on the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier docked on the west side of Manhattan.
    Top Beat the Streets youth wrestlers will take the mat showcasing their skills in exhibition matches beginning at 3:00 p.m. to kick off the NYC Benefit. For the second straight year, the Benefit will feature the PSAL Girls Freestyle Dual Meet Championships finals, showcasing the two top New York City girl's freestyle wrestling high school teams from the spring girl's freestyle season. Then it's Team USA vs. Japan at 6:00 p.m. with video highlights and special guest appearances followed by the Beat the Streets Benefit Celebration.

    Tickets are required for entry and can be purchased at www.btsny.org or 212.245.6570 or by emailing beatthestreets@eventassociatesinc.com. Standing room available for non-ticket holders on first come first serve basis. A ticket is required for the Benefit Celebration at the Marriott Marquis. More details are available at http://www.btsny.org/gala.

    The Benefit Celebration will follow the wrestling competition. This unique and electrifying annual event helps Beat the Streets (BTS) raise significant funds to further its mission. Whether it's providing a safe, constructive outlet for our urban youth, fighting childhood obesity, empowering women, or uniting entire nations, wrestling teaches persistence, dedication, and the value of working hard to achieve one's goals and creates opportunities for personal and universal growth. BTS currently serve over 3,000 student-athletes every year.

    Beat the Streets Wrestling Schedule
    In New York City, May 17, 2017

    3:00 p.m. - Beat the Streets Youth Exhibition Matches between 46th and 47th Streets
    4:45 p.m. - New York City Girl's Freestyle Dual Meet Championships Finals between 46th and 47th Streets
    6:00 p.m. - World Class Wrestling: Team USA vs. Team Japan between 46th and 47th Streets
    Followed by Benefit Celebration

    About Beat the Streets
    The mission of Beat the Streets is to develop the full potential of the urban youth and to strengthen the culture of New York City wrestling. BTS works directly with the New York City Department of Education in a public-private partnership to bring the life changing sport of wrestling to over 3,000 New York City student-athletes to help them achieve their personal and athletic goals. Through the operation of wrestling programs in middle and high schools in the five boroughs, BTS and the DOE provide a safe, positive atmosphere in which disadvantaged and at-risk youth can learn the essential life lessons of grit, personal responsibility and teamwork, physical fitness and nutrition, and life-long learning. The goal of fostering strong, well-rounded student-athletes is delivered through coaching, after-school programs, life skills workshops, and summer camps. More information can be found at www.btsny.org.

    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

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