Sumo wrestler gets fan club in Egypt

JIJI

A fan club for Osunaarashi, the first sumo wrestler from the Middle East and African region to make the makuuchi top division, has been established in his home country of Egypt.

At an event held at the Japanese Embassy in Cairo on Thursday, the wrestler’s father, Alaa Eddin Shaalan, said he hopes the fan club will help more Egyptians become familiar with the traditional sport.

Embassy diplomats meanwhile hope Osunaarashi, 21, can play a role in enhancing Japan-Egypt friendship through sumo.

Hiroko Tsuchiyama, a 65-year-old Japanese who operates a farm in Egypt, said she feels a lot of responsibility as the founder of the fan club. She promised to continue supporting Osunaarashi until he reaches the rank of yokozuna, or grand champion.

Osunaarashi was promoted to the makuuchi division after 10 tournaments, the fastest rise ever for a non-Japanese.

At the grand tournament in Fukuoka last month, however, he logged his first losing record, scoring seven wins against eight losses.

He has pledged to practice harder and achieve better results in the next tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo in January.