Sumo scan­dal af­ter bot­tle as­sault claims

The Phnom Penh Post - - SPORT -

THE highly cer­e­mo­nial and or­dered world of sumo was rocked yes­ter­day as al­le­ga­tions emerged that one of the sport’s wor­shipped grand cham­pi­ons smashed a beer bot­tle over a fel­low wrestler’s head.

Mon­go­lian yokozuna, or grand cham­pion, Haru­ma­fuji is­sued an apol­ogy be­fore the Ja­panese me­dia, as of­fi­cials said they were e prob­ing the in­ci­dent that has led to his ab­sence from an on­go­ing ng tour­na­ment.

The 33-year-old old Haru­ma­fuji hit his coun­try­man Takanoiwa, noiwa, 27, last month when n Mon­go­lian wrestlers gath­ered athered over drinks af­ter the au­tumn tour­na­ment, sev­eral me­dia re­ported. d.

“I deeply apol­o­gise se over Takanoiwa’s a’s in­jur y,” Haru­ma­fuji uji (pic­tured, AFP) – one of three reign­ing Mon­go­lian yokozuna – told re­porters at his train­ing site in the western Ja­panese city of Daza­ifu. But he de­flected fur­ther ques­tions to the “sta­ble master” who runs the camp.

The an­cient sport has an ex­tremely strict pro­to­col, and yokozuna are ex­pected to be be­yond moral re­proach in ad­di­tion to show­ing su­pe­rior strength and tech­nique in the ring. Wrestlers are not ev even al­lowed to ex­press em emo­tions when they win as th this is seen as in­con­sid­er­ate to the loser.

Tomokat Tomokatsu Taniguchi, head of le­gal af­fairs for the sumo as­so­ci­a­tion, sai said Takanoiwa’s sta­ble mas master had submitted a do doc­tor’s cer­tifi­cate rega gard­ing a head in­jury tha that would re­quire two week weeks to heal.

A link be­tween the in­jury and the al­le­ga­tion is not con­firmed, added Taniguchi, as of­fi­cials are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter.

Haru­ma­fuji is viewed as hav­ing a skil­ful tech­nique that al­lows him to off­set a rel­a­tively small body weight – at a mere 137 kilo­grams, he is one of the light­est in the sport’s top di­vi­sion.

He emerged vic­to­ri­ous at the most re­cent tour­na­ment in Septem­ber in Tokyo, edg­ing out Ja­pan’s Goeido in a thrilling last-day bout.

“Haru­ma­fuji will be ab­sent from the third day” of the cur­rent tour­na­ment in Fukuoka, western Ja­pan, the sumo as­so­ci­a­tion tweeted with­out giv­ing a rea­son.

Wrestler loses sight in one eye

Tales of ex­treme phys­i­cal abuse are be­com­ing more com­mon in sumo – Ja­pan’s na­tional sport – which is char­ac­terised by harsh train­ing and a strict hi­er­ar­chy. It has also been hit in re­cent years by bout-fix­ing ru­mours and il­le­gal gam­bling.

Last year, a wrestler and his sta­ble master were re­port­edly or­dered to pay more than $287,000 to a fel­low grap­pler for daily abuse that led to the loss of sight in one of the vic­tim’s eyes.

In 2007, a trainee sumo wrestler died af­ter be­ing bul­lied and sub­jected to vi­o­lent ini­ti­a­tion rites, send­ing shock­waves through the sport.

A sta­ble master who struck the teen with a beer bot­tle was sen­tenced to five years in jail for neg­li­gence re­sult­ing in death.

And in 2010, fire­brand Mon­go­lian grand cham­pion Asashoryu re­tired af­ter be­ing ac­cused of break­ing a man’s nose in a drunken brawl out­side a Tokyo night­club.

Vi­o­lent treat­ment of ap­pren­tices and ju­niors in the name of train­ing had long been seen as par for the course at sumo sta­bles, but the sport is now strug­gling to end such cus­toms.

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