Monday, May 22, 2006

Sumo-Summer Grand Sumo Tournament Summary

The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament finished in Tokyo (Sunday) yesterday.Two wrestlers,ozeki Hakuho and sekiwake Miyabiyama were tied at 14-1 so a playoff was necessary to decide the Emperors Cup and tournament winner.
Hakuho prevailed over Miyabiyama in a tense bout to claim his first Emperors Cup.He's had a quick rise through the ranks.This was his first outing as an ozeki, having only been promoted in March.He's also the fourth youngest wrestler to be promoted to the rank of ozeki,the second highest rank, in modern sumo history.
After Asashoryu and Tochiazuma pulled out through injury the race for the Emperors Cup was blown wide open.Apart from Miyabiyama and Hakuho there were some other notable performances.Mention must be made of Baruto who after losing two of his first four fights I had written off.However he seemed to come right and improved to an impressive winning record of 11 wins and 4 losses.His bout with Miyabiyama on Day 14 was a highlight of the basho.Just like Hakuho, Baruto was making his debut in a higher rank,(makuchi), having been promoted in March.Although out-muscled by Miyabiyama,Baruto can only improve with more exposure to stronger competition.I expect to see him climb the rankings quickly.
I'm also pleased that ozeki Kaio finished with a winning record of 9-6.In Japanese a winning record is "kachikoshi" eight wins or more.The opposite- a losing record is known as "makekoshi".Should a wrestler other than a yokozuna post two losing records then he faces possible demotion in ranking.Last tournament Kaio was on the verge of demotion but pulled back to a winning record of 8-7 on the last day.
One wrestler who retired during the basho was the lower ranked Toki.The most memorable feature were the mutton chop side burns he sported that gave rise to his nickname of "Elvis" by some reporters.
Another character who stood out was a veteran 35 year old wrestler named Buyuzan.He has an elaborate pre-match warmup that includes throwing fistfuls of salt ( used to symbolically purify the ring ) high into the air much to the delight of spectators.Although he posted a losing record he has a fire and spirit about him that is evident in his broad smile and swaggering walk after a victory.
Obvivously I'm pretty much a raw novice when it comes to sumo.Some sites I've found useful to find more about this sport and Lots of information and its in English..
Cant wait for July when the annual tournament is held in Nagoya and I can see the wrestlers live in action...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is not Buyuzan. The guy who throws the salt is Kitazakura.