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Sumo: Japan ends painful wait for local-born Yokozuna

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NewsHubTOKYO: Japan’s excruciating wait for a homegrown Yokozuna, or sumo grand champion, ended Wednesday (Jan 25) when 30-year-old Kisenosato was promoted to the ancient sport’s highest rank.
A first Emperor’s Cup triumph at the weekend was deemed good enough for him to become the first Japan-born wrestler to reach the lofty perch since Wakanohana in 1998, although it took Kisenosato 73 tournaments to get there – longer than anyone since 1926.
“I accept with all humility,” the 178kg Kisenosato told reporters after being formally approved by the Japan Sumo Association (JSA).
“I will devote myself to the role and try not to disgrace the title of yokozuna.
“I feel a sense of relief,” added the native of Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo.
“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for all the people who have helped me reach this point. “
Sumo dates back more than two millenia but the roly-poly sport has been plagued by a series of damaging scandals in recent years. It had been without a Japanese yokozuna since Wakanohana’s brother Takanohana retired in 2003.
Japanese wrestlers have been unable to repel a flood of foreigners who have dominated since then.

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