Ex-ozeki Kotooshu opens own stable

Kyodo

Former Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu established his new own stable on Saturday, making him sumo’s first European-born stablemaster.

The 34-year-old, who has been coaching at Sadogatake stable as sumo elder Naruto since his retirement in March 2014, won a single championship in May 2008 and occupied the sport’s second-highest rank of ozeki for 47 tourneys.

“I want to nurture a wrestler who’ll eclipse me,” he said at his Naruto stable’s opening ceremony, where sekiwake Kotoshogiku from Sadogatake stable was among around 100 in attendance.

The new stable’s three wrestlers, including 20-year-old Bulgarian junior wrestling champ Ventsislav Katsarov, performed ritual stamps and the fledgling stablemaster vowed to pass on all he knows about making living with sumo in Japan, where he was naturalized two months before his retirement.

“I had many experiences, hardships and learned a lot (during my wrestling career). I’ll teach with my Japanese heart,” the former ozeki said.