On Day 9 of the 2015 Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, 30-year-old maegashira Tamawashi downed yokozuna Harumafuji to earn the first kinboshi (gold star) of his career.

It was a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable tournament for the veteran, and the first honor of any sort he had earned in the top division after 11 years of toiling away in Japan’s national sport.

Almost 1½ years after that highlight moment, Tamawashi received his first-ever sanshō (special prize), when a fine 10-5 outing earned him the technique award and resulted in promotion to sumo’s third-highest rank of sekiwake.