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Friday, May 10, 2002

Takanohana pulls out of basho

Yokozuna Takanohana has withdrawn from the upcoming Summer Grand Sumo Tournament after failing to shake off a long-term knee injury, officials of the Japan Sumo Association (JSA) said Thursday.

Takanohana, who has been sidelined since tearing ligaments in his right knee in the summer meet a year ago, will sit out an unprecedented sixth straight tournament in its entirety and his 14th overall.

Stable master Futagoyama informed JSA head Kitanoumi of his decision to rest the 22-time Emperor's Cup winner for the 15-day meet getting under way at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Sunday, saying he did not want Takanohana to wrestle until he is fully fit.

"Takanohana wanted to take part in the tournament but Futagoyama convinced him that he was not ready to wrestle and said that he wanted him to wait until he is 100 percent before making his comeback," Kitanoumi said.

Takanohana injured his right knee on the penultimate day of the summer tourney in May last year.

He battled through the pain barrier to throw down fellow grand champion Musashimaru for the championship on the final day but missed the next five basho as a result.

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