Ozeki-bound Goeido fought through pain

Kyodo

Sekiwake Goeido, who has all but clinched his promotion to the ozeki rank after winning 12 bouts at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, fought and won his final three bouts with a hobbled left knee, his sumo elder Sakaigawa revealed on Monday.

Sakaigawa said that Goeido, 28, might have possibly seriously damaged his left meniscus when he was thrown down by yokozuna Harumafuji in a defeat on the 12th day in Nagoya.

“He was taking painkillers from that day on when he wrestled,” Sakaigawa said. “It was tough for him to even get up and down from the raised ring during the dohyo-iri ceremony.”

Goeido, who had his knee heavily taped from the 13th day, posted wins over rank-and-filers Takekaze and Terunofuji before manhandling ozeki Kotoshogiku on the final day Sunday to all but secure his rise to sumo’s second-highest rank.

“Had it (the injury) been in the first half of the meet, he would have been in a severe situation. He really gave it his best,” Sakaigawa said.

Goeido, who will join the coveted rank held by fellow Japanese-born wrestlers Kotoshogiku and Kisenosato for the September basho in Tokyo, said the knee is still bothering him.

“There is still pain,” Goeido said. “It was really tough at the end.”