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


Star-Bulletin news services

Sunday, May 27, 2001

loses in dramatic playoff
to Takanohana

TOKYO, May 27 (Kyodo) -- Yokozuna Takanohana set aside an injured right knee Sunday to throw down rival Musashimaru and claim his 22nd Emperor's Cup in a playoff on the final day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

Takanohana, with his right knee heavily strapped and grimacing with pain, came back from an embarrassingly simple defeat in the final bout of regulation at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan to twist the Samoan-born grand champion over in dramatic fashion for the title.

The victory was a personal triumph for Takanohana, who injured his right knee in Saturday's loss to Musoyama and contemplated withdrawing from the final day of the tourney.

"I didn't want to pull out. It's always important to keep going," said Takanohana, who only decided Sunday morning that he would wrestle in the afternoon.

His decision, however, appeared to be a mistake as he was sent sprawling in the match with Musashimaru which left both yokozuna with 13-2 records. For Musashimaru, the win was merely a matter of stepping to the right and slapping his gimpy opponent down.

In the playoff, however, Takanohana surprised Musashimaru with an aggressive charge and secured control the belt.

In the scramble at center-ring, Takanohana began twisting Musashimaru forward and down with his right arm locked into his opponent's armpit and then finished him off with a quick hoist on the belt with his left hand.

It was the second time that Takanohana has defeated Musashimaru in a championship playoff this year, following a similar situation in January in which Musashimaru won the final bout of regulation only to lose out in the winner-take-all playoff.

Also on Sunday, Mongolia's Asashoryu capped a memorable first tournament in the "sanyaku" ranks in which the komusubi upset Musashimaru and four ozeki, by dumping Akinoshima (8-7) in the dirt for a winning 8-7 record.

Asashoryu also collected his first career Outstanding Performance Award, one of the three special prizes for makuuchi division wrestlers handed out by the Japan Sumo Association.

Chiyotaikai (12-3) beat Musoyama (9-6) in the day's all-ozeki battle while ozeki Dejima (5-10) backed out sekiwake Tochinonada (4-11).

In the lower ranks, Kyokushuzan (11-4) muscled out former ozeki Takanonami (8-7) to ensure a hefty promotion in the rankings for the Nagoya in July, while fellow Mongolian Kyokutenho (6-9) lost to Tochisakae (7-8).

Prime praise for Takanohana

TOKYO, May 27 (Kyodo) -- Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi praised yokozuna Takanohana on Sunday for clinching his 22nd Emperor's Cup in a playoff on the final day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament despite his injured right knee.

"You endured the pain and hung in there. It was moving. Congratulations," Koizumi cried as he staggered under the weight of the 40.8-kilogram cup, drawing cheers and applause from the crowd at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan as he handed Takanohana the Prime Minister's Award.

The premier also gave Takanohana a champion's diploma, making him the fourth premier to directly hand the certificate and the cup over to sumo champions, following Ryutaro Hashimoto, Keizo Obuchi and Yoshiro Mori.

Takanohana, with his right knee heavily strapped and grimacing with pain, came back from an embarrassingly simple defeat in the final bout of regulation to throw down his rival yokozuna Musashimaru in dramatic fashion for the title.

Koizumi watched the sumo bouts from 3:30 p.m. Sunday, his first opportunity to take in a live sporting event since he took office late last month.

The premier told reporters that he had watched sumo bouts on television Saturday and "could not forget" about Takanohana, who was hobbling after suffering injury in his loss to ozeki Musoyama.

"The victory was even more moving than winning the championship without losing a single bout," Koizumi said.

Final Results

TOKYO, May 27 (Kyodo) -- Results of makuuchi division bouts Sunday, the final day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo (+ denotes juryo division wrestler):

Won Technique Lost

+Minatofuji 10-5 hatakikomi Wakatsutomu 7-8
Higonoumi 11-4 oshidashi Daizen 8-7
Tochinohana 9-6 oshidashi Otsukasa 8-7
Jumonji 7-8 tsukiotoshi Takatoriki 5-10
Kyokushuzan 11-4 yorikiri Takanonami 8-7
Tochisakae 7-8 hikiotoshi Kyokutenho 6-9
Tamakasuga 6-9 oshidashi Terao 2-13
Tosanoumi 7-8 tsukidashi Asanowaka 7-8
Tamanoshima 5-10 oshitaoshi Kaiho 6-9
Hamanishiki 4-11 uwatenage Chiyotenzan 4-11
Takanowaka 5-10 yoritaoshi Tokitsuumi 4-11
Wakanosato 8-7 uwatedashinage Aminishiki 7-8
Asashoryu 8-7 shitatenage Akinoshima 8-7
Toki 11-4 tsukitaoshi Kotomitsuki 9-6
Hayateumi 9-6 oshidashi Tochiazuma 9-6
Kotonowaka 9-6 uwatenage Miyabiyama 9-6
Dejima 5-10 yorikiri Tochinonada 4-11
Chiyotaikai 12-3 tsukitaoshi Musoyama 9-6
Musashimaru 13-2 tsukiotoshi Takanohana 13-2

Championship playoff

Takanohana uwatenage Musashimaru

Division winners

Makuuchi -- Takanohana, Futagoyama stable, 13-2 (winner in playoff)
Juryo -- Kitazakura, Kitanoumi stable, 13-2
Makushita -- Towanoyama, Dewanoumi stable, 7-0
Sandanme -- Munakata, Kasukayano stable, 7-0
Jonidan -- Daishoma, Oitekaze stable 7-0 (winner in playoff)
Jonokuchi -- Miyamoto, Musashigawa stable, 7-0

(Note: Wrestlers in sumo's four junior divisions compete in only seven bouts per tournament.)

Special awards for makuuchi division wrestlers

Outstanding Performance Award -- Asashoryu, Wakamatsu stable (1st)
Technique Prize -- Kotomitsuki, Sadogatake stable (3rd)
Fighting Spirit Prize -- not awarded

Takanohana wins
tournament in playoff
with Musashimaru

TOKYO (AP) -- Takanohana, suffering from a sore right leg, threw down his fellow yokozuna (grand champion) Musashimaru in a playoff and captured the championship of the 15-day Summer Grand Sumo tournament Sunday.

It was the 22nd championship for the 28-year-old Takanohana, who received the Prime Minister's cup from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi before 11,000 spectators at the Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Arena.

Musashimaru, trailing by one victory, tossed down Takanohana in the last regular match of the tournament, tying him with a 13-2 record. Musashimaru, who is from Hawaii, is known as Fiamalu Penitani in the islands.

In the playoff, Takanohana charged Musashimaru with hand thrusts and downed him with an arm throw.

On Saturday, Takanohana appeared injured after his bout with ozeki (champion) Musoyama, limping as he retreated backstage and supported on both sides by assistants.

Asked about the injury, Takanohana said he received treatment to prevent the injury from becoming worse. Takanohana won 10 million yen ($83,000) in prize money.

In other bouts, ozeki Chiyotaikai charged Musoyama and thrust him down to finish at 12-3. Musoyama ended at 9-6.

Ozeki Dejima bulldozed out sekiwake (junior champion) Tochinonada and wound up the tournament at 5-10. Tochinonada finished at 4-11.

Despite his losing record, Dejima will maintain his ozeki ranking in the next tournament in Nagoya, central Japan, July 8-22. Ozekis keep their ranking unless they lose a majority of bouts for two consecutive tournaments.

Komusubi Asashoryu charged No. 9 maegashira Akinoshima with a series of hand thrusts, grabbed his foe's belt and threw him down.

Asashoryu, or Mongolian Dolgorsvren Dagvardrj, won his first outstanding performance award of 2 million yen ($17,000) for his 8-7 record, which included victories over Musashimaru and four ozekis.

No. 13 maegashira Toki downed komusubi Kotomitsuki with hand slaps to his face and finished at 11-4.

Although Kotomitsuki lost the bout, he received his third technical prize of 2 million yen ($17,000) for his 9-6 record, which included victories over four ozekis.

No. 8 maegashira Kotonowaka sidestepped to the left and threw down ozeki Miyabiyama. Both wrestlers ended at 9-6.

In other major bouts, No. 15 maegashira Kyokushuzan, or Mongolian Batbayar Davaa, grabbed one of No. 5 maegashira Takanonami's legs and sent him out of the ring. Kyokushuzan ended at 11-4 and Takanonami at 8-7.

No. 5 maegashira Tochisakae pulled down No. 7 maegtashira Kyokutenho, or Mongolian Tsevegnyam Nyamjav. Tochisakae ended at 7-8 and Kyokutenho at 6-9.

In the 26-member juryo division, No. 4-ranked Sentoryu, or American Henry Armstrong Miller, wound up the tournament at 7-8, losing to No. 4-ranked Harunoyama by a driving technique. Harunoyama ended at 6-9.

No. 8-ranked Kuniazuma, or Brazilian Vander Ramos, finished at 8-7, as he was pushed out by No. 2-ranked Aogiyama (5-10).

No. 13-ranked Wakaazuma, or Yoshinobu Kuroda from Brazil, downed No. 6 Tomikaze of makushita, the top junior division, and finished at 4-11.

Tomikaze finished at 1-7. Wrestlers in junior divisions have only seven bouts during the 15-day tournament.

Results of main sumo bouts

TOKYO (AP) -- Results of main bouts Sunday, the final day of the 15-day Summer Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Arena:

Winners Losers

Minatofuji (juryo) (10-5) Wakatsutomu (7-8)
Higonoumi (11-4) Daizen (8-7)
Tochinohana (9-6) Otsukasa (8-7)
Jumonji (7-8) Takatoriki (5-10)
Kyokushuzan (11-4) Takanonami (8-7)
Tochisakae (7-8) Kyokutenho (6-9)
Tamakasuga (6-9) Terao (2-13)
Tosanoumi (7-8) Asanowaka (7-8)
Tamanoshima (5-10) Kaiho (6-9)
Hamanishiki (4-11) Chiyotenzan (4-11)
Takanowaka (5-10) Tokitsuumi (4-11)
Wakanosato (8-7) Aminishiki (7-8)
Asashoryu (8-7) Akinoshima (8-7)
Toki (11-4) Kotomitsuki (9-6)
Hayateumi (9-6) Tochiazuma (9-6)
Kotonowaka (9-6) Miyabiyama (9-6)
Dejima (5-10) Tochinonada (4-11)
Chiyotaikai (12-3) Musoyama (9-6)
Musashimaru (13-2) Takanohana (13-2)


Takanohana beat Musashimaru

Juryo Division

Wakaazuma (4-11) Tomikaze (makushita) (1-7)
Harunoyama (6-9) Sentoryu (7-8)
Aogiyama (5-10) Kunazuma (8-7)

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

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