Mini tourneys to be held on summer tour

The Japan Sumo Association will hold mini exhibition tournaments featuring sumo wrestlers from the top-tier makuuchi division during a five-day training tour of Taiwan scheduled for this summer, association officials said Tuesday.

The tournaments will be held at the newly built Taipei Dome, which was completed last December, on Aug. 19 and 20 and the winners of each day will meet in a playoff to decide the overall champion.

About 100 people, including wrestlers, stable masters and JSA officials, will participate in the trip which begins on Aug. 17 and is the first of its kind to Taiwan since the end of World War II.

The JSA has decided to forego a trip to Mongolia due to scheduling problems but will continue efforts to arrange a training tour of the country in the near future.

Takeo Oshima, a JSA director in charge of training tours, said the JSA officials involved with the matter have agreed to review the timing of a visit to Mongolia originally planned to begin July 31 this year.

“We concluded that it is unfeasible in light of the sumo wrestlers’ health and fitness because they will have to wrestle in the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament until May 21 and then make a training tour of Taiwan in August,” Oshima said.

JSA Chairman Kitanoumi said he would like to schedule a visit to Mongolia within the next few years, referring to the fact that two wrestlers from the country currently occupy the top two ranks — yokozuna Asashoryu and newly promoted ozeki Hakuho.