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Olympic champ Yoshida to fight in new weight class

December 18, 2013

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese freestyle wrestler Saori Yoshida says she will compete in a new weight class at the 2016 Olympics.

Yoshida, who has dominated the sport with 14 consecutive gold medals in Olympic and world championship competitions, will wrestle in the 53-kilogram category following a decision by wrestling’s international governing body to eliminate the 55-kg class.

Wrestling was dropped from the list of Olympic core sports in February, but was reinstated in September after changes intended to modernize wrestling.

Women’s freestyle was introduced for the 2004 Olympics and competed at 48, 55, 63 and 72 kilograms in London last summer. Women will wrestle at 48, 53, 58, 63, 69 and 75 kilograms in the 2016 Games. The changes are intended to open up competition in a sport dominated by Japan.

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