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Thursday, July 3, 2003

Musashimaru to compete

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Musashimaru will return to the raised ring for the upcoming Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament after missing the last three basho with a nagging wrist injury, sumo officials said Wednesday.

The Samoan-born bruiser has been out of action since last November, when he damaged ligaments in his wrist and pulled out five days into the Kyushu meet. He had surgery on his wrist later that month.

"I made up my mind last night. I wanted to compete as soon as possible. It will be my first tournament in a while, but I'm not nervous. I've got to do what I've got to do," he said.

Musashimaru, a 12-time Emperor's Cup winner, takes the west berth in his comeback at the July 6-20 tournament, while Mongolian Asashoryu will be looking to capture back-to-back titles in the prestigious east slot.

"His wrist has not completely healed yet, but he has been training for the Nagoya meet. It hasn't been the best of practices, but I can see how serious he is. It's his decision," the yokozuna's stablemaster Musashigawa said.

Musashimaru's appearance will mark the first time both yokozuna are active since Asashoryu was promoted to sumo's highest rank on Jan. 29.

Meanwhile, Komusubi Dejima has decided to pull out of the Nagoya tournament due to a knee injury, sumo officials said.

Dejima underwent surgery on his right knee in June and the injury has prevented him from training properly, the officials said. He had been dropped from sekiwake to komusubi for the July 6-20 tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium after posting a 7-8 record in the May meet.

It will be his first no-show in a tourney since last September and seventh overall.

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