Stunned Yoshida sees mat win streak end at 119
<!--// headline_end //--> <!--// byline_start //--> The Yomiuri Shimbun
<!--// byline_end //--><!--// article_start //--> <!-- google_ad_region_start=region1 --> TAIYUAN, China--One of the most impressive winning streaks in Japanese sports history came to a stunning end here Saturday when Olympic champion wrestler Saori Yoshida lost for the first time in nearly seven years--and to a non-Japanese for the first time ever.
Yoshida lost 2-0 to American Marcie Van Dusen in the 55-kilogram class at the women's team World Cup, ending a 119-match winning streak that dated back to 2001.
A five-time world champion and the 2004 Athens Olympic gold medalist, Yoshida was stunned by the loss and came off the mat in tears.
"The biggest shock was that I lost to a foreign opponent for the first time," Yoshida said later. " I realize I have to practice harder and harder before Beijing. I definitely want to win in Beijing."
Yoshida had jammed her right thumb during practice on Tuesday and, had it not been a team competition, might have withdrawn from the competition.
Yoshida was not able to finish off her trademark double-leg tackle, which the 25-year-old Van Dusen countered to score decisive points in a 4-1, 2-2x victory.
Van Dusen, the 2007 Pan Am Games silver medalist, finished 10th at last year's world championships , where Yoshida won the gold.
The World Cup consists of the top six nations, split into two preliminarhy groups. The top two in each group compete for the title.
Earlier in the day, Japan beat Ukraine, with Yoshida posting her 119th straight win.
But Yoshida's loss, combined with the withdrawal of 63-kg world champion Kaori Icho due to a back injury, proved costly as the United States won the duel meet 4-3 to advance to the final.
Going into the U.S. match, Yoshida had built up a 115-0 record against non-Japanese opponents--with one of those wins over Van Dusen, although it goes back quite a way.
At the 1999 world cadet championships (for 15-16 year olds), Yoshida scored an 11-0 technical fall over Van Dusen.
Yoshida's last loss came in December 2001 at the Japan championships, when she fell 3-2 to Seiko Yamamoto in the semifinals of the then-56-kg class.