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Golden hat-trick for Yoshida

Japan’s Saori Yoshida

Japan’s Saori Yoshida won the Olympic women’s freestyle wrestling 55kg gold medal for the third successive Games after defeating Tonya Verbeek of Canada in the final today.

Her victory saw Yoshida, a nine-time world champion, equal the record of 12 world-level titles held by Russia’s three-time Olympic Greco-Roman gold medal winner Alexander Karelin.

It also saw Yoshida match the achievement of compatriot Kaori Icho, who yesterday became the first woman to complete a hat-trick of Olympic wrestling golds, in the 63kg class.

Both Yoshida and Icho are the only Olympic champions in their weight classes in history, as women’s wrestling only made its debut at the 2004 Athens Games.

The bronze medals in the 55kg category went to Colombia’s Jackeline Renteria Castillo and Azerbaijan’s Yuliya Ratkevich.

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