Soccer match draws JSA’s ire

Kyodo News

Grand champion Asashoryu, who has decided to miss the upcoming regional summer tour due to a stress fracture in his lower back, is catching serious flack after taking part in a soccer game in his homeland of Mongolia. Japan Sumo Association chairman Kitanoumi expressed confusion Thursday that the yokozuna would take part in a soccer event, despite having submitted a medical certificate indicating that he was in no condition to compete in the regional tour starting Aug. 3. “I haven’t checked to confirm that he actually did this, so I can’t really say anything,” Kitanoumi said. “I suspect that he will tell me later. But I find it strange that he would play soccer after submitting the medical certificate.” According to familiar sources, Asashoryu participated in the soccer event at the request of the Japanese Foreign Ministry and Mongolian government.