Sumo cham­pion un­der as­sault in­ves­ti­ga­tion

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

JA­PANESE sumo of­fi­cials are in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­le­ga­tions yes­ter­day that nine­time grand cham­pion Haru­ma­fuji as­saulted a lower-ranked wrestler, caus­ing se­ri­ous head in­juries.

Ja­panese me­dia re­ported that Haru­ma­fuji hit his fel­low Mon­go­lian wrestler Takanoiwa in the head with a beer bot­tle at a party last month, frac­tur­ing his skull base and caus­ing other in­juries.

Haru­ma­fuji, who holds sumo’s high­est rank­ing of yokozuna, ap­peared on Ja­panese tele­vi­sion to ac­knowl­edge his role in the in­ci­dent and ex­press his re­morse.

“I sin­cerely apol­o­gise for caus­ing trou­ble,” Haru­ma­fuji told re­porters in Fukuoka, a south­ern Ja­panese city where the Kyushu Grand Sumo tour­na­ment is cur­rently be­ing held.

The Ja­pan Sumo As­so­ci­a­tion, which im­poses strict rules on wrestlers, said 33-year-old Haru­ma­fuji will sit out the 15-day Kyushu event, which started Sun­day, while the in­ves­ti­ga­tion takes place.

Haru­ma­fuji’s sta­ble mas­ter Seiya Isega­hama told re­porters that the grand cham­pion would visit the vic­tim’s sta­ble later yes­ter­day to of­fer a per­sonal apol­ogy.

The news dom­i­nated Ja­panese tele­vi­sion talk shows and evening news­pa­pers yes­ter­day as the na­tion ex­pressed its shock at claims against a yokozuna, whose be­haviour in sports and so­ci­ety is ex­pected to be ex­em­plary.

Born Davaanyam Byam­badorj, Haru­ma­fuji de­buted in 2001 and has won the cham­pi­onship nine times, with his most re­cent vic­tory at the au­tumn tour­na­ment in Septem­ber. He was pro­moted to yokozuna in 2012.

The in­ci­dent is the lat­est scan­dal to rock the sport of sumo in re­cent years fol­low­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into haz­ing and match-fix­ing.

In 2010, then-yokozuna Asashoryu, also from Mon­go­lia, re­tired from the sport af­ter al­le­ga­tions he had at­tacked a man out­side a Tokyo night­club dur­ing a tour­na­ment. In June 2007, a sta­ble mas­ter and his three wrestlers were con­victed over a bul­ly­ing-death of a 17-year-old ju­nior wrestler. – AP

Photo: AP

Mon­go­lian sumo grand cham­pion Haru­ma­fuji leaves the ring af­ter his loss to Takakeisho in their bout at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tour­na­ment in Fukuoka on Mon­day.

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