Monday, September 15, 2008

Sumo...Up in Smoke

The first day of the Autumn Sumo Tournament began yesterday set against a drug scandal that has been capturing headlines and television coverage over the last month.
The drama began following the arrest of a Russian wrestler Wakanoho after police claimed a small amount of marijuana was found in his wallet.After an emergency meeting on August 21 the Japan Sumo Association dismissed him and handed down a lifetime ban.
He has the dubious honour of being the first active wrestler to be given his marching orders.
Wakanoho,whose real name is Soslan Aleksandrovich Gagloev,has subsequently filed a lawsuit to nullify his dismissal.
Following on from his arrest the JSA tested all 69 wrestlers in the top two divisions. Two other Russian wrestlers,Roho and Hakurozan,who are brothers,tested positive for the drug.A second test conducted by an internationally certified lab apparently found the presence of the drug.Both wrestlers have denied using the drug.
Like Wakanoho they were dismissed and are also considering filing lawsuits against the JSA.
The final act in the current saga came on Monday September 8th when the Japan Sumo Association Chairman Kitanoumi resigned over the current scandal.He is Hakurozan's stablemaster.A former yokozuna,Kitanoumi was replaced by Musashigawa as Chairman and gave a speech at the start of the first day of the basho outlining his plans to revitalise the sport.
As to the actual results of the first days bouts in Tokyo they pretty much went to form.Hakuho won over Asasekiryu while in the penultimate match newly promoted Baruto lost against Asashoryu.Hopefully if Asa can stay fit he can challenge Hakuho and make this tournament more competitive and exciting than the previous one in which he withdrew early through injury.

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