Yokozuna Hakuho has been in this tenuous situation before — sort of.
The Mongolian, who is taking part in a “test meet” in Tokyo in place of the summer basho following a match-fixing scandal, had to deal with disappointment when, despite winning last year’s Nagoya basho, he received nothing for his efforts, including the coveted Emperor’s Cup.
There are no awards, trophies or cash prizes being offered either at the May Technical Examination Tournament, as it is being called, but the results still count.
The Ryogoku Kokugikan appears even gloomier, due to the reduced lighting to conserve energy following the March 11 earthquake in northeastern Japan.
“I felt the same way at the Nagoya basho last year but I fought through it,” said Hakuho, who is aiming to match former yokozuna Asashoryu’s all-time record of seven consecutive titles at this meet.
“Last time when I was in this type of situation, I tried to remember the joy of sumo as I wrestled. That’s the same thing I have to do here. I have to feel appreciation while I wrestle.”