BELGRADE (Kyodo) — Japan’s Olympic gold medalists Saori Yoshida, Kaori Icho and Hitomi Obara were inducted into the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame on Friday.
Yoshida won three straight Olympic gold medals beginning with the 2004 Athens Games, when women’s wrestling was added to the program, while Icho in 2016 became the first female athlete to win individual-event gold at four straight Olympics.
The 39-year-old Yoshida won an unprecedented 13 world championships in a row, mostly in the 55-kilogram division, with the 38-year-old Icho winning the title 10 times, chiefly at 63 kg.
Obara, 41, triumphed in eight world championships, mostly at 51 kg, and won Olympic gold in 2012 in London at 48 kg.
“We pushed each other through friendly competition and I’m really honored to receive the award with them,” said Obara, as she attended the ceremony in the Serbian capital clad in a cherry blossom-colored kimono.
“I got to experience lots of things after starting wrestling. I’ll do my best to develop wrestlers who can compete on the world stage.”