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Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008

Roho, Hakurozan test positive for marijuana

Kyodo News

Marijuana was detected in urine samples from Russian brothers Roho and Hakurozan on Tuesday, further escalating a scandal in the ancient Japanese sport after Wakanoho, another Russian grappler, was arrested for allegedly possessing the illegal drug, the Japan Sumo Association said.

News photo
Drug scandal: Third-ranked maegashira Roho (right) and juryo wrestler Hakurozan, Roho's younger brother, shown here as they were awarded for their sumo performances by Russian Consulate General in Osaka in 2004, tested positive for marijuana after on-the-spot urine checks at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Tuesday. KYODO PHOTO

Marijuana was detected in samples from Roho, a 28-year-old grappler in the top-tier makuuchi division, and his younger brother Hakurozan, a 26-year-old wrestler in the second-tier juryo division, after the association conducted on-the-spot urine checks at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan the same day.

Upon receiving a notification from the association, Tokyo police began to question Roho and Hakurozan over the case.

Last month, Tokyo police arrested 20-year-old Russian wrestler Wakanoho in the makuuchi division, on suspicion of possessing Marijuana in violation of the Cannabis Control Law.

Wakanoho, who was arrested Aug. 18, has admitted to the allegation, saying the marijuana was given to him by a foreigner in Tokyo's Roppongi area, according to police. Police said they have seized a cannabis pipe from the wrestler's home.

The association fired Wakanoho on Aug. 21 following his arrest. He became the first active wrestler to be dismissed in sumo's long history.

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