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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Yokozuna Asashoryu pulls out of tournament

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu withdrew from the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday and has been diagnosed with ligament damage in his left elbow requiring at least three weeks of recovery, his stablemaster Takasago said.

News photo
Lousy performance: Asashoryu, who posted a 3-2 record in the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, will not capture his 23rd Emperor's Cup this month. He quit the tournament on Friday, opting to focus on recovering from injuries. KYODO PHOTO

Asashoryu, who was suffering from a right ankle injury before the start of the 15-day tourney, suffered the elbow injury in his defeat by rank-and-filer Tochinonada a day earlier, leaving him with an unflattering 3-2 record.

"I was trying to give it my all and this is the result," said Asashoryu. "It's unfortunate. I apologize to all the fans."

The 27-year-old Asashoryu, who has injured the same elbow in the past and had it hemmed in a sling, said the pain was unbearable when he woke up Friday morning.

"I injured the same place two years ago. When I got up this morning the pain was extremely bad. I am in no condition to wrestle," he said.

Takasago, said, "There was a phone call from him this morning. I will let him concentrate on his treatment in Nagoya City. He won't go back to Mongolia."

Asashoryu suffered a miserable start to his campaign for his 23rd Emperor's Cup as he lost his first-day bout Sunday at the hands of komusubi Toyonoshima before falling to Tochinonada, a No. 3 maegashira on the fifth day.

It is the fifth time Asashoryu will miss a tournament and first since he returned from a two-meet suspension after the conclusion of last year's Kyushu basho in November.

No. 4 maegashira Wakanosato, Asashoryu's scheduled opponent on Friday, will be awarded a win by default.

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