Historic low turnout for sumo test

Kyodo News

Sumo drew the fewest new recruits ever in light of the match fixing scandal as the Japan Sumo Association tested just 36 applicants on Saturday.

“I didn’t think even this many people would show up,” stablemaster and former yokozuna Takanohana said at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, where the applicants underwent physicals.

“You just have to be grateful they came out. I hope they become the best wrestlers that they can be.”

The previous lowest turnout was 41 in 2009. The tests are usually held in Osaka ahead of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, but were moved to Tokyo this year after the scandal forced the cancellation of the basho.

A JSA special investigation panel has been unable to put the case to rest after the scandal exploded in January.