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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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