• Kyodo News


The results of the first random drug tests ever conducted on sumo wrestlers last month all turned out negative, the Japan Sumo Association said Thursday.

Isenoumi, who heads a board tasked with ridding the ancient national sport of illegal drugs, hazing and other problems tarnishing its image, revealed that 103 wrestlers, stablemasters and other sumo officials who underwent urine tests on April 22 all tested negative.

Isenoumi said the wrestlers, including grand champion Asashoryu, were checked at five stables for three types of illegal drugs but not for steroids. JSA Chairman Musashigawa was also tested.

Mitsubishi Chemical Medience Corp., the only domestic institution certified by the World Anti-Doping Agency, was in charge of examining all the urine samples.

Some critics, however, have complained the random drug tests were not stringent enough because stablemasters were warned two days before the wrestlers were summoned to Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo stadium for testing.

Former sumo wrestler Wakakirin was arrested at the end of January on suspicion of possessing marijuana — the first Japanese grappler to be arrested in a marijuana case and the latest to be thrown out of sumo.

Wakakirin, whose real name is Shinichi Suzukawa, was later sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for three years.

His arrest followed the dismissal of three Russian sumo wrestlers caught up in drug charges involving marijuana.

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