General

The top sports stories of 2017

The Japan Times newsroom selected these domestic sports stories as the most important of 2017.

1. Fall from grace: Yokozuna Harumafuji retired from sumo to take responsibility for assaulting fellow wrestler Takanoiwa at a restaurant in Tottori. Takanoiwa was left with a fractured skull and a concussion.


Fast feet: Yoshihide Kiryu points to his record-breaking time after finishing the 100-meter race at a meet in Fukui Prefecture in September.
Fast feet: Yoshihide Kiryu points to his record-breaking time after finishing the 100-meter race at a meet in Fukui Prefecture in September. | KYODO

2. Top speed: Yoshihide Kiryu became the first Japanese man to run 100 meters in under 10 seconds when he clocked 9.98 seconds at an intercollegiate meet in Fukui Prefecture.


Skating off: Mao Asada speaks to the press after announcing her retirement on her blog in April.
Skating off: Mao Asada speaks to the press after announcing her retirement on her blog in April. | KYODO

3. Calling it a day: Figure skater Mao Asada retired from the sport at the age of 26, having won the world title three times and having claimed silver at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.


Kisenosato holds up a red sea bream during a formal ceremony in which he was officially promoted to the rank of yokozuna.
Kisenosato holds up a red sea bream during a formal ceremony in which he was officially promoted to the rank of yokozuna. | KYODO

4. Home-grown hero: Kisenosato became the first Japan-born wrestler in 20 years to be promoted to sumo’s highest rank of yokozuna after he won the New Year Sumo Tournament.


Milestone: Hakuho prepares to wrestle ahead of winning his 1,048th bout, breaking the record for most career wins in sumo history.
Milestone: Hakuho prepares to wrestle ahead of winning his 1,048th bout, breaking the record for most career wins in sumo history. | KYODO

5. Out in front: Hakuho broke the record for the most career wins in sumo history when he claimed his 1,048th victory during the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.


Fuel for the champ: Takuma Sato celebrates his Indy 500 victory with a traditional swig of milk.
Fuel for the champ: Takuma Sato celebrates his Indy 500 victory with a traditional swig of milk. | USA TODAY SPORTS / VIA REUTERS

6. Burning rubber: Takuma Sato became the first Japanese driver to win the iconic Indy 500 race when he finished ahead of Helio Castroneves at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


The iceman cometh: Yuzuru Hanyu skates at the world championships in Helsinki in April.
The iceman cometh: Yuzuru Hanyu skates at the world championships in Helsinki in April. | AP

7. Setting the standard: Yuzuru Hanyu won the men’s figure skating world title in Helsinki, breaking his own free-skate world record with a score of 223.20 to give him 321.58 overall.


In demand: No. 17 Shohei Ohtani is introduced to fans during a press conference at Anaheim Stadium earlier this month.
Home run: No. 17 Shohei Ohtani is introduced to fans during a press conference at Anaheim Stadium earlier this month. | JAYNE KAMIN-ONCEA / USA TODAY SPORTS / VIA REUTERS

8. In demand: Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters star Shohei Ohtani announced his intention to move to Major League Baseball, sparking a frenzy of interest from U.S. teams. Ohtani eventually joined the Los Angeles Angels.


Top spot: Mai Murakami shows off her gymnastics gold in Montreal in October.
Top spot: Mai Murakami shows off her gymnastics gold in Montreal in October. | KYODO

9. Golden girl: Gymnast Mai Murakami became the first Japanese woman to win the floor exercise at the world gymnastics championships in Montreal, giving the nation its first female world champion in 63 years.


Game, set, match: Kimiko Date thanks fans at the Japan Women
Game, set, match: Kimiko Date thanks fans at the Japan Women’s Open in September. | KYODO

10. Finally finished: Kimiko Date retired from tennis for the second time, two weeks short of her 47th birthday. Date first retired at the age of 25 in 1996 but came back 12 years later.

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