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Monday, Nov. 6, 2000

DAY 1

Kaio lets down home fans

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Ozeki Kaio fluffed his lines in front of his hometown supporters, going down to newly promoted komusubi Tochinohana, and rank-and-filer Hamanoshima forced out ozeki Musoyama in two opening-day upsets at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

All three yokozuna, including Takanohana -- who missed the entire autumn tourney with a sprained elbow -- and ozeki trio Chiyotaikai, Dejima and Miyabiyama all posted victories as the 15-day tournament got under way at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Kaio, wrestling in his native Fukuoka for the first time since his promotion to ozeki after the Nagoya meet in July, failed to get control of Tochinohana's belt as the komusubi stood his ground well before tossing Kaio out of the ring. Musoyama, returning to ozeki after going 10-5 as a sekiwake in September, came bursting out of his crouch and dished out a series of slaps to Hamanoshima. But the No. 2 maegashira came storming back to grab Musoyama by the belt and dump him out.

At sumo's ultimate rank of yokozuna, Takanohana, showing no ill effects of the elbow injury sustained in Nagoya, blasted No. 1 maegashira Wakanoyama out of the ring for a convincing win.

Yokozuna Akebono bulldozed out new sekiwake Hayateumi with three mighty shoves for an easy win while grand champion Musashimaru did not have it quite so easy in the final -- and longest -- bout of the day.

Musashimaru needed almost three minutes to send Takanonami over the straw bails as the sekiwake, who showed the great strength and determination that once elevated him to ozeki, twice looked as though he might derail the autumn champion.



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