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Friday, July 5, 2002

Takanohana to skip Nagoya Basho

Yokozuna Takanohana will sit out of the upcoming Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament for an unprecedented seventh straight absence from a basho due to the late recovery of his injured knee, sumo officials said Thursday.

News photo

"It was my elder Futagoyama's decision, after we talked it over yesterday. My knee is not that bad but I'm taking my time and keeping to my own pace. All I've got to do now is practice," said Takanohana, who spent the day out of the ring and focused on stretching.

"I'm not one to comment on anything at this point," he added, while saying he would disclose more information Friday.

Takanohana, who will not be subject to demotion for missing the 15-day meet getting under way Sunday at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, also has the record among holders of sumo's ultimate rank of yokozuna for missing a total of 15 tournaments while in the rank.

"I told (sumo elder) Futagoyama that the next tournament would be the time to make the final call. Takanohana has been away for more than a year and people expect to see results," Japan Sumo Association chairman Kitanoumi said.

Takanohana tore the ligaments in his right knee on the 14th day of the summer tournament in May 2001, but came back to win the championship the following day by toppling yokozuna rival Musashimaru in dramatic fashion.

Since then, however, recovery from surgery to repair the knee has been slow.

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