AKITA - Sumo stablemaster and former yokozuna Takanohana, currently on a regional sumo tour, was rushed to hospital Tuesday morning after falling ill while coaching wrestlers.
An emergency call made at around 10:10 a.m. described the 46-year-old as experiencing convulsions and being unconscious during a training session in the city of Akita, but he was said to have recovered consciousness before an ambulance arrived and is now able to speak at the hospital where he was taken, according to Japan Sumo Association sources.
A one-day sumo event was held the same day in Akita, in which Takanohana had been due to participate as a referee.
The celebrated former yokozuna, who won 22 tournaments in the top division, has endured a difficult period in recent months due to long-standing friction with the JSA.
In January he was dismissed from his role as a JSA board director over his failure to promptly report to the sumo governing body that a wrestler from his stable had been beaten and injured by yokozuna Harumafuji — a scandal that led to the retirement of the grand champion.
Takanohana attempted to regain his spot on the board of directors by running in an election in February, but he failed to do so after receiving just two votes in the ballot of all 101 sumo elders.
In March, he was demoted two ranks within the JSA’s hierarchy, to the lowest of seven ranks, due to his absence without permission from the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament and a lack of supervision of a wrestler from his stable who assaulted a junior wrestler.