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H A W A I I _ S U M O T O R I


Star-Bulletin news services

Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Kaio becomes ozeki,
1st for Tomozuna
stable since 1909

NAGOYA, July 26 (Kyodo) -- A relieved Kaio accepted promotion to sumo's second-highest rank of ozeki on Wednesday, vowing to devote himself to the rank it has taken him more than 12 years to achieve.

Officials of the Japan Sumo Association (JSA) met at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium earlier in the day and decided unanimously to promote the 28-year-old Tomozuna stable wrestler to ozeki for the autumn tourney in September.

Kaio becomes the first ozeki from the Tomozuna stable since Tachiyama in 1909 and the first ozeki from Fukuoka Prefecture since 1918 and third overall.

Kaio's rise to ozeki, which took 44 tournaments over seven-plus years since reaching the makuuchi division in May 1993, was the second slowest in history after the 60 tournaments it took Masuiyama to reach ozeki in 1980.

Kaio, who joined professional sumo in 1988 in the same group as grand champions Akebono and Takanohana, holds the modern record (since 1926) with 32 tournaments at sekiwake and komusubi, sumo's two highest ranks after yokozuna and ozeki.

He also shares the record for most tournaments at sekiwake with 21 before finally reaching ozeki.

"I'm relieved," Kaio said after receiving word of his promotion. "I didn't want to say anything earlier, but I have been thinking about it for the last couple of days."

The JSA dispatched sumo elders Oshima and Takashima to the Tomozuna camp in Nagoya to deliver the news of the JSA's decision to Kaio, who posted 33 wins over the previous three tournaments and won the summer tourney in May with a 14-1 mark.

"I will devote my self to practice in order not to soil the position of ozeki," Kaio said as he accepted the promotion he missed on six earlier occasions.

He added later, "In the past, I always felt the pressure (to win and secure promotion to ozeki), so I would do things that were outside of my normal (practice) routine. This time, that didn't happen."

JSA Chairman Tokitsukaze said of the promotion, "We have had high expectations of Kaio all along, so we were getting a little impatient."

"He's the type of wrestler who can slap and thrust and wrestle in close as well, so we think he'll provide us with an exciting brand of sumo," Tokitsukaze said.

Mongolia gets 3rd grappler
in full-fledged sumo ranks

NAGOYA, July 26 (Kyodo) -- Asashoryu, winner of the makushita division title in the recently concluded Nagoya sumo tourney, became Mongolia's third full-fledged sumo wrestler Wednesday when he was promoted to the second-tier juryo division for September's meet.

Asashoryu, whose real name is Dolgorsvren Dagvadrj, wrestles out of the Wakamatsu stable and joins Oshima-stable compatriots Kyokushuzan (Batvayar Davaa) and Kyokutenho (Tsevegnyam Nyamjav), who wrestle in the elite makuuchi division, as a salaried wrestler.

In addition to the makushita crown in Nagoya, Asashoryu, who came to Japan in 1997 as a high school exchange student, also won junior crowns in the jonidan and sandanme divisions.

The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) also promoted Brazil's Kuniazuma, or Vader Ramos, of the Tamanoi stable to the juryo division. He has won all four junior titles over nearly a decade in the junior ranks.

Asashoryu and Kuniazuma will be joined by Juzan in making their debut as juryo wrestlers when the autumn tourney gets under way Sept. 3 at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

For more sumo information online, try:
Sumo Web
Da Kine Sumo E-zine
Kyodo News Service

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