JSA plans tours of Taiwan, Mongolia this summer

The Japan Sumo Association plans to hold training tours of Taiwan and Mongolia this summer for top wrestlers, association officials said Wednesday.

The JSA is considering a visit to Taipei on Aug. 19-20 for its first training tour of Taiwan since the end of World War II while a trip to Mongolia, which is also being planned in August, would be the first in sumo history.

“Things have been mostly set for the Taiwan tour. I hear that facilities are good there. As for Mongolia, it is perfect timing for us because of the promotion of Mongolian Hakuho to ozeki,” JSA Chairman Kitanoumi said.

According to sumo officials, Mongolian Prime Minister Miyeegombyn Enkhbold is hoping for such a tour, especially after he watched final-day matches of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka on March 26.

In the tournament, yokozuna Asashoryu won his 16th career title with victory over Hakuho in an all-Mongolian championship playoff.

Hakuho earned promotion to ozeki, the second-highest rank in sumo, after the tournament following his strong showings at the last two meets.