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Friday, March 21, 2003

Chiyotaikai keeps rollin' along

OSAKA (Kyodo) Ozeki Chiyotaikai breezed to his 10th victory against rank-and-filer Kaiho on Thursday to keep one win ahead of the pack with just three days left at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Newly promoted yokozuna Asashoryu stayed hot on the ozeki's heels however, after rolling over sekiwake Wakanosato in a matter of seconds at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Chiyotaikai leads at 10-2, one ahead of the Mongolian and former ozeki Miyabiyama.

Bidding to capture a third Emperor's Cup, Chiyotaikai wasted little time in brushing aside the challenge of Kaiho (5-7).

After going down against Wakanosato on Wednesday, the ozeki bounced back by shoving out the fifth-ranked maegashira in a flash in the day's penultimate bout.

Despite struggling to impose himself in the opening week of his debut tournament as grand champion, Asashoryu (9-3) served notice to any doubters by blowing past Wakanosato (7-5) in impressive fashion.

The sekiwake simply had no answer as Asashoryu sent him packing with a flurry of slaps and thrusts from the tachi-ai.

Kaio breathed a sigh of relief after guaranteeing his ozeki status with a victory against Kyokushuzan (7-5)

After sitting out the last tourney with injury, the Tomozuna stable grappler needed a winning record to stay at his rank and got the vital eighth win after blasting the Mongolian out of the ring.

Miyabiyama (9-3) prevailed against Hokutoriki in a bout between two high-flying maegashira.

Ninth-ranked Miyabiyama absorbed a powerful charge by his 11th-ranked opponent but while backed up against the straw bales, he pumped out a series of thrusts to hand Hokutoriki a fourth loss.

Elsewhere, top-dog maegashira Takanonami (7-5) dragged Tokitsuumi (8-4) to a painful defeat.

Just one off the pace at the beginning of the day, the eighth-ranked maegashira did the splits as he slid down to the clay surface and his continued participation is in question after being led away from the ring in a wheelchair.



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