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Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2001

Kotomitsuki returns as sekiwake

Kotomitsuki, winner of last month's autumn tourney, returns to sumo's third-highest rank of sekiwake for the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, according to rankings released Monday by the Japan Sumo Association.

The Sadogatake-stable grappler went 13-2 as a No. 2 maegashira to win the September meet and will likely be one of the favorites for another championship when the 15-day Kyushu tourney gets under way at Fukuoka Kokusai Center on Nov. 11.

Grand champion Musashimaru will step onto the ring from the east again for a third straight tournament after going 9-6 in September while yokozuna Takanohana, who missed the entire autumn meet, will again be on the west side of the ring.

Musoyama, who went 10-5 last month, will take over the east-ozeki position by default as Chiyotaikai went 4-5 and withdrew for the final six bouts while yokozuna candidate Kaio was winless over the first four days and sat out the last 11 days of the tourney. Kaio faces the loss of sumo's second-highest rank for a second time and will have to notch at least eight wins to avoid relegation to the sekiwake rank.

Chiyotaikai, who pulled out of the autumn tournament with a left-foot injury, will be on the sidelines in Fukuoka but will need a winning record in the New Year tourney in January to hold onto his rank. At sekiwake, Tochiazuma retained the east position while Kotomitsuki and Miyabiyama sit opposite on the west.

Miyabiyama, who fell from the ozeki rank with a 3-7 mark before pulling out of the fall tourney, is expected to sit out the Kyushu tournament also with an injury to his left foot.

Sumo Rankings for Kyushu Basho
Musashimaru (Y, 9-6) Yokozuna Takanohana (Y, 0-0, r-15)
Musoyama (O, 10-5) Ozeki Chiyotaikai (O, 4-5-6)
Kaio (O, 0-4, r-11) Ozeki
Tochiazuma (S, 12-13) Sekiwake Kotomitsuki (M2, 13-2)
Sekiwake Miyabiyama (O, 3-7, r-5)
Asashoryu (M1, 10-5) Komusubi Kaiho (M4, 10-5)
Wakanosato (K, 7-8) M.1 Tamanoshima (K, 7-8)
Takanowaka (M2, 8-7) 2 Tosanoumi (M3, 8-7)
Tokitsuumi (M4, 9-6) 3 Dejima (S, 5-10)
Kotonowaka (M1, 7-8) 4 Tochinonada (M5, 8-7)
Kotoryu (M7, 9-6) 5 Kyokutenho (M8, 9-6)
Daizen (M8, 9-6) 6 Akinoshima (M11, 9-6)
Tamakasuga (M3,5-10) 7 Toki (M6, 7-8)
Oginishiki (M10, 8-7) 8 Chiyotenzan (M11, 8-7)
Kyokushuzan (M6, 6-9) 9 Wakanoyama (M12, 8-7)
Takanonami (M5, 5-10) 10 Hayateumi (M7, 6-9)
Otsukasa (M9, 7-8) 11 Kitazakura (M13, 8-7)
Hamanishiki (M14, 8-7) 12 Tochisakae (M12, 0-0, r-15)
Aogiyama (J5, 12-3) 13 Higonoumi (M9, 5-10)
Kobo (J1, 8-7) 14 Aminishiki (M13, 7-8)
Tamarikido (J9, 12-3) 15 Buyuzan (J8, 11-4)
(Previous ranking and record in parentheses. Y=yokozuna, O=ozeki, S=sekiwake, K=komusubi, M=maegashira, J=juryo, r=rest)

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