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Friday, Aug. 30, 2002

Texas teen clears first hurdle

A teenager from Texas and five other sumo hopefuls passed the preliminary stage of their physical examinations Thursday to move a step closer to joining the ranks of professional sumo.

Fifteen-year-old Jason Walker of the United States was above the first-stage height and weight requirements of 175 cm and 75 kg to pass the initial physical examination.

Walker will undergo a check of his heart, lungs and internal organs and will join the Kagamiyama stable if he is deemed fit to wrestle.

Results of the tests will be announced Sept. 8, the first day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Walker and the other would-be wrestlers will have three preliminary ranking "maezumo" bouts during the upcoming tourney at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan and will make their official debut on the sumo rankings at the Kyushu basho in November.

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