Sports: Japan’s Kaori Icho cruises to 10th world wrestling title

(From AP)

By Luke Meredith

Japanese wrestler Kaori Icho made it look as though winning her 10th world title was a breeze.

Kaori Icho of Japan defeated Petra Maarit Olli of Finland; AP photo

Kaori Icho of Japan defeated Petra Maarit Olli of Finland; AP photo

Americans Helen Maroulis and Adeline Gray were nearly as dominant in giving the U.S. its first two gold medals of the world championships in Las Vegas.

Icho cruised to her 10th world title Thursday night, joining teammate Saori Yoshida (13) as the only women with double-digit titles.

Icho beat Finland’s Petra Olli 10-0 in the 58-kilogram (128-pound) final for her 158th consecutive win in major international competition.

Asked why the pair is so good, Icho said simply that “we like the practice.”

Icho and Yoshida both have three Olympic gold medals as well. They’ll leave Las Vegas as the prohibitive favorites for next summer’s Rio Games.

The U.S. have never won Olympic gold in women’s freestyle.

But now the Americans have two serious contenders to break that streak.

Maroulis won her first world title at 55 kilograms (121 pounds), and Gray won for the third time in four years by defeating Qian Zhou of China 13-2 at 75 kilos (158.5 pounds).

Maroulis cruised to the final with a 5-0 win over China’s Qianyu Pang. Maroulis then jumped ahead of Irina Ologonova with a takedown in less than 20 seconds and at one point ran the Russian off the mat.

Maroulis, who won a silver and bronze medal in the past but never gold, closed out an 11-0 win in 4:29.

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