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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Historic promotion for Kotomitsuki

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Veteran wrestler Kotomitsuki became the oldest man to reach the second-highest rank of ozeki on Wednesday when the Japan Sumo Association unanimously endorsed his promotion.

The JSA executive committee gave the green light to the promotion of Kotomitsuki from the sekiwake position, where he compiled an impressive 13-2 record and finished runnerup to yokozuna Asashoryu at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

At 31 years and three months, Kotomitsuki, whose real name is Keiji Tamiya, became the oldest wrestler to climb up to ozeki since the establishment of the format of six tournaments a year in 1958. Masuiyama had previously been the oldest to do so at 31 years and two months.

Kotomitsuki met the JSA's loosely set requirement for ozeki promotion of 33 to 34 wins over three consecutive tournaments, having gone 35-10 following his showings of 10-5 and 12-3 in March and May, respectively.

"I humbly accept the decision," Kotomitsuki said as he knelt in front of the officials sent by the JSA.

"I will fight hard and make strong efforts at any time while pursuing the spirit of sumo," he said in a prepared speech.

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