Yokozuna Harumafuji pulls out of New Year tournament due to ankle injury


The New Year sumo tournament will go ahead without one of its grand champions for the first time in five years, officials said Friday, with Harumafuji sidelined by an ankle injury.

Harumafuji, one of two reigning yokozuna, will skip the tournament due to start at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Sunday, the Japan Sumo Association said.

The 29-year-old Mongolian, who reached the sport's top rank in September 2012, twisted his right ankle and partially tore ligaments when he slipped while running in training in late December, his stablemaster Isegahama said.

"I really wanted to compete. But I would have worsened the condition if I compete with my left ankle as it is," Harumafuji, whose real name is Davaanyam Byambadorj, told reporters at his stable.

Harumafuji won the last of the year's six, 15-day tournaments, held in Fukuoka in November.

It will be the first time for a yokozuna to miss a regular tournament since now-retired Asashoryu skipped one in November 2008.

Harumafuji's absence will leave fellow Mongolian Hakuho as the lone grand champion competing in the January "basho" (tournament).

"I will train myself all over again, mentally and physically, and try to turn my frustration into power at the spring (March) tournament," said Harumafuji, whose 133 kilograms make him a fairly light sumo star.

Hakuho, 28, has set his sights high for the New Year after winning 27 tournaments in a 13-year career that has included six-and-a-half years as yokozuna.

He is aiming to break the record of 32 career tournament wins set by the late home-grown yokozuna Taiho.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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oh no. that is so sad

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Watching sumo is getting shorter and shorter with so many people out of commission with injuries.

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Harumafuji's absence will leave fellow Mongolian Hakuho as the lone grand champion competing in the January "basho" (tournament).

Just saw the replay of a couple of today's bouts and watched this "grand champion" dodge to the left at the beginning of the bout, known as henka but no one would dare call it so for the "grand champion". All the people who paid to see it up close must have been delighted with such a cowardly anti-climax to the day.

Also disappointing was Kisenosato, aiming to become the first Japanese yokozuna in 16 years, losing his bout on the first day. Try again next time.

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Watching sumo is impossible without paying for it. Sumo now charges for internet streaming. It is a shame. People who enjoy sumo, but live in the USA or another country are charged a fee, and it isn't cheap. Sumo is a dying sport in Japan, and this is just another nail in the coffin.

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