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Thursday, April 24, 2003

Yokozuna Asashoryu takes over elite east slot

Asashoryu, who made his debut as a yokozuna in March, occupies the prestigious east slot for the first time as the Japan Sumo Association (JSA) released its rankings for the upcoming Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old Mongolian grand champion will look to get back on track after finishing a disappointing 10-5 last month and failing to claim his third consecutive title.

Chiyotaikai, who will be bidding for promotion to sumo's highest rank after claiming his third Emperor's Cup with a 12-3 record at the spring tourney, sits in the top east ozeki position for the May 11-25 meet at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Meanwhile, burly Samoan-born grand champion Musashimaru, who has skipped the last two basho after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, still appears doubtful for the 15-day meet and has been relegated to the west yokozuna slot for the first time in 11 tournaments.

Musoyama, who pulled out through injury midway through the spring meet, takes the other east position but is in danger of demotion from his ozeki status for the second time in his career and must notch eight or more wins this time out.

Kaio and Tochiazuma, who will also make his comeback to the raised-ring in a bid to avoid relegation, occupy the two ozeki slots on the west while Wakanosato returns to the east sekiwake slot for the second time running.

Former ozeki Dejima, who scraped out a passing grade of 8-7 in March, returns as a sekiwake on the west side for the first time in 10 basho while Tosanoumi fills the east komusubi slot for the second time in a row.

Mongolian Kyokutenho impressed with a 9-6 record last time out and takes the komusubi spot on the west for the first time in three tourneys but Kotomitsuki, who posted a depressing 6-9 record in the spring, has slipped to the No. 2 maegashira slot in the east.

Akinoshima, who holds the second best record with 90 consecutive appearances in the elite makuuchi division, occupies the lowest position in the rankings as a No. 15 maegashira on the west.

Elsewhere, Aogiyama, Yotsukasa, Otsukasa and Asanowaka all return to the top flight while there were no newly promoted wrestlers to the division for the first time since last year's Nagoya meet.

Sumo rakings for Summer Basho
Asashoryu(Y, 10-5) YokozunaMusashimaru(Y, 0-0-15)
Chiyotaikai(O, 12-3)OzekiKaio(O, 10-5)
Musoyama(O, 1-6-8)OzekiTochiazuma(O, 0-0-15)
Wakanosato(S, 9-6)OzekiDejima(K, 8-7)
Tosanoumi(K, 8-7)komusubiKyokutenho(M1, 9-6)
Tochinonada(M2, 9-6)M.1Takamisakari(M2, 8-7)
Kotomitsuki(S, 6-9)M.2Takanonami(M1, 7-8)
Kyokushuzan(M7, 10-5)M.3Tamanoshima(M4, 8-7)
Kaiho(M5, 8-7)M.4Kotonowaka(M3, 7-8)
Miyabiyama(M9, 9-6)M.5Hokutoriki(M11, 10-5)
Kasugao(M7, 8-7)M.6Takanowaka(S, 0-0-15)
Tokitsuumi (M8, 8-5-2) M.7 Aminishiki (M9, 8-7)
Tamarikido(M11, 8-7)M.8Gojoro(M14, 9-6)
Jumonji(M14, 9-6)M.9Iwakiyama(M6, 6-5-4)
Kotoryu(M5, 5-10)M.10Wakanoyama(M4, 4-11)
Toki(M6, 5-10)M.11Shimotori(M3, 3-7-5)
Buyuzan(M10, 7-8)M.12Aogiyama(J3, 10-5)
Yotsukasa(J1, 9-6)M.13Asasekiryu(M10, 6-9)
Takanotsuru(M8, 4-11)M.14Otsukasa(J2, 9-6)
Asanowaka(J3, 9-6)M.15Akinoshima(M12, 6-9)
(Previous ranking and record in parentheses. Y-yokozuna, O-ozeki, S-sekiwake, K-komusubi, M-maegashira, J-Juryo, r-rest)

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