NAGOYA – Yokozuna Kisenosato was content with the progress of his rehabilitation but minced words on Tuesday over his participation at the upcoming Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
The 30-year-old, who missed the last five days of May’s Summer Basho due to left chest and arm muscle injuries, went 9-6 against new ozeki Takayasu on Tuesday during the first training session at their Tagonoura stable in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture. The 15-day Nagoya tourney opens on July 9.
“Things are gradually getting better. I just have to do what I have to,” Kisenosato said. “If my sharpness and feel return, it will be interesting.”
Kisenosato won his first Emperor’s Cup at January’s New Year tourney to earn promotion to sumo’s highest rank. He then secured his second championship in March. But the nagging injuries suffered on the final days in March resulted in subpar performances and eventual withdrawal two months later.
“What’s important is to keep training every day,” he said. “If rest would allow my injuries to heal, I’d like to skip the tournament. I’m doing the best I can at this moment in time.”
New ozeki Takayasu, meanwhile, found positives out of his 15 bouts against his senior stablemate as he shapes up for his first tourney at the second-highest rank.
“I’m starting again with a refreshed mindset. I’ll up my pace from tomorrow,” said the 27-year-old, who displayed his trademark vigorous thrusts along with thrusts and decisive throws.
“My only thought was to press forward. My form was good.”
Takayasu, whose mother is from the Philippines, is planning to visit other stables ahead of the tourney as he aims to become the first wrestler since Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho in 2006 to win a tournament in his ozeki debut.