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Monday, Aug. 21, 2006

Asashoryu the victor in Taiwan

TAIPEI (Kyodo) Asashoyru treated 10,000 Taiwanese fans to a "Demolition Man" impersonation as the Mongolian grand champion won the overall title to wrap up a five-day exhibition tour in Taipei on Sunday.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoyru flips ozeki Tochiazuma in the playoff final on the last day of the two-day exhibition tour in Taipei on Sunday. KYODO PHOTO

Asashoryu shook off a defeat to Bulgarian rival Kotooshu and floored ozeki Tochiazuma in the playoff final on the last day of the two-day meet at a sold-out Taipei Arena.

The yokozuna delighted spectators by expressing in Chinese his gratitude for the support the tour has received here.

"As much as possible I want to learn the language of the country I'm in," said Asashoryu, who also paid his respects to fans at the closing ceremony of a tour in China two years ago.

Asashoryu, who won his 17th Emperor's Cup at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in July, and 41 other wrestlers took part in the first matches of the ancient Japanese sport to be held in Taiwan since the end of World War II.

The last sumo bouts held in Taiwan took place in April 1936 when the island was under Japanese rule.

Taiwan's government had expressed hope that the event would promote mutual understanding between Taiwan and Japan while helping to attract more Japanese tourists to the island.

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