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Saturday, Dec. 29, 2001

Miyabiyama may miss Tokyo basho

Sekiwake Miyabiyama may sit out next month's New Year Grand Sumo Tournament due to a lingering shoulder injury, jeopardizing his bid to return to the second-highest rank of ozeki, his stable master said Thursday.

Sumo elder Musashigawa said he will make a final decision on whether to let Miyabiyama wrestle at the 15-day meet from Jan. 13 at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan shortly after he has his shoulder re-examined on Jan. 4.

"Even if he gets the green light from the doctors, I feel it will be tough for him to post a decent record because of the lack of proper preparations for the upcoming tournament.

I'm also worried that he could injure himself again," Musashigawa said. Miyabiyama, a 24-year-old former amateur star, had surgery on a cartilage in his right shoulder in November after pulling out midway through the autumn tournament in September and sitting out the entire Kyushu meet last month.

His second straight losing record in the process led to demotion to sekiwake, leaving him needing at least 10 wins in January to regain his ozeki status.

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The Japan Times

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