Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"Kid's" Dream Lives On.

Despite his injury at this past weekend's Emperor Cup, Japanese mixed martial arts superstar "KID" Norifumi Yamamoto (Pictures) plans to continue pursuing an Olympic bid for the 2008 Beijing Games.

Yamamoto impressed in his first amateur wrestling competition in over seven years, when he took second place in the 128-pound men's freestyle class at the Emperor's Cup in Nov. 1999. The K-1 HERO’S star opened up the day with an impressive victory over Japanese Self Defense Forces member Akihiro Tsuchida, racking up points with explosive tackles. However, disaster struck in the semifinals, when in the first move of the match, after only 16 seconds, an arm-whip takedown by 2004 Athens Games bronze medalist Kenji Inoue left Yamamoto with a dislocated right elbow, and consequently prone for the easy pinfall.

Following the match, Yamamoto offered no comment before being taken to hospital via ambulance. The examining doctors confirmed the diagnosis of a dislocated right elbow, and estimated a complete recovery time of three to four months for the injury. The injury will not require surgery.

While the estimated recovery time raised questions as to what would become of Yamamoto's Olympic dream, "KID" has now said that he will rest for a few days before resuming light weight training. Yamamoto feels as though he will be able to workout and prepare in ways beyond intensive grappling while he waits for his injury to heal to a level where he can again begin to practice.

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