Champion Of The Week
January 30, 2016
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I had assumed that the World Sumo Championship was akin to the Baseball World series – an attempt by the marketing Johnnies to give a peculiarly local pastime the veneer of global appeal. The winner would always be Japanese just as the winners of the World Series are always American. Just shows how wrong I can be judging by Japan’s reaction to the crowning of Kotogoshiku as champion for winning the top division makuuchi championship last Sunday.
The champ is the first Japanese born Sumo wrestler to win the Emperor’s Cup in a decade and when he threw his opponent, Goeido, to the ground to take an unassailable lead, he sparked off wild celebrations. It is hoped that this home-grown success will reignite interest in this ancient sport amongst the Japanese young.
The first threat to Japanese dominance came in the 1990s with the arrival of Konishiki and other heavies from Hawaii and in the last decade the crown has been the preserve of Mongolian wrestlers, principally bad boy Asashoryu.
The hope is that the home-grown assault on the Mongolian ascendancy has begun. We’ll see.