Forget baseball, soccer and sumo. Here is what’s been going on in some other sports in Japan over the past week or so:
- Race-favorite Almond Eye captured a record ninth turf Grade 1 victory on Sunday in the 40th running of the Japan Cup, her final race before retirement. In the first head-to-head matchup between three winners of the Japanese Triple Crowns for colts and fillies, Almond Eye, the 2018 fillies champion, ridden by veteran jockey Christophe Lemaire, beat out this year’s champs, colt Contrail and filly Daring Tact, who both suffered their first career defeats.
- Kaori Sakamoto won the women’s championship on Saturday in her first NHK Trophy appearance, while figure skating icon Daisuke Takahashi, making his competitive ice dancing debut, touched the ice as he and partner Kana Muramoto slipped to third. The victory was Sakamoto’s first on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating circuit. Due to travel restrictions, the six stops on this year’s Grand Prix events became essentially regional competitions.
Japan’s women’s team has learned their potential Rugby World Cup pool phase opponents after the draw was held for the tournament to be played in New Zealand in 2021. Despite still needing to qualify for the 12-team tourney, Lesley McKenzie’s side saw the Asian qualifying place drawn into Pool B alongside world No. 3 Canada, No. 6 United States and a yet-to-be-determined European qualifier.
The Fujitsu Frontiers have a chance to cement their status as an X League dynasty after earning their eighth consecutive trip to the Japan X Bowl with a 34-3 victory over the Elecom Kobe Finies last Sunday in their regular-season finale, writes Kaz Nagatsuka. Next up for Fujitsu is a date with the Obic Seagulls, who clinched their spot in the X Bowl a day earlier for the league title on Dec. 15 at Tokyo Dome.
Despite the T. League being forced to open its third season behind closed doors due to COVID-19, officials are hoping to continue to expand the table tennis circuit’s fanbase, writes Nagatsuka. This year, the locations of matches will not be announced to avoid the possibility of fans showing up at the venues. However, games will be broadcast online and some matches will be shown on regular TV.