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In the international arena of wrestling, a Filipino-Canadian teenager is stealing the spotlight from the rest of the world. She is Calista Espinosa and this is the story of how a champion is made. While most middle school students are still dozing off at the crack of dawn, Calista is already up at five for an early morning jog, a routine essential to her career as an athlete. Afterwards, Calista, along with her brother Xavier, leave home for school.
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Freestyle wrestling is a style of amateur wrestling that is practiced throughout the world. Along with Greco-Roman , it is one of the two styles of wrestling contested in the Olympic games. American high school and college wrestling is conducted under different rules and is termed scholastic and collegiate wrestling. Freestyle wrestling, like collegiate wrestling, has its greatest origins in catch-as-catch-can wrestling. In both styles the ultimate goal is to throw and pin the opponent to the mat, which results in an immediate win. Unlike Greco-Roman, freestyle and collegiate wrestling allow the use of the wrestler's or the opponent's legs in offense and defense.
After starting her career in International Wrestling Association of Japan in August , Sakura worked for several promotions across Japan, winning numerous titles, before founding her own promotion, Ice Ribbon , in early After six years with Ice Ribbon, Sakura left the promotion for "personal reasons" in January In , at the age of seventeen, Motokawa decided to find a career in professional wrestling and after going to auditions with the Ladies Legend Pro-Wrestling LLPW and Gaea Japan promotions , she was finally accepted into the International Wrestling Association of Japan dojo for training. In , Motokawa joined the Gatokunyan GTKN promotion, where she worked for the first year solely as a trainer, before returning to the ring in under the new ring name Emi Sakura. Ice Ribbon held its first two shows on June 20, After defeating Miyako Matsumoto and Hikari Minami in her first round and semifinal matches,   Sakura was defeated in the finals on January 4, , by Tsukasa Fujimoto in just six seconds. Also in January, Sakura debuted her newest trainee, the twelve-year-old Tsukushi , with whom she would work for most of the year. In February , Sakura formed a tag team with the debuting Ray , her first ever trainee from the Gatokunyan dojo. Sakura made her first appearance as a freelancer on January 8, , at Bull Nakano 's retirement event, where she teamed with Meiko Satomura and Nanae Takahashi to defeat Ayumi Kurihara , Tsukasa Fujimoto and Yoshiko in a six-woman tag team match, pinning her trainee Fujimoto for the win.