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Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010

Mongolian press ridicules JSA

ULAN BATOR (Kyodo) Several Mongolian newspapers on Friday featured articles on their front pages reporting that a conspiracy was behind former yokozuna Asashoryu's decision to quit sumo over his alleged assault of a man in downtown Tokyo.

Most of them failed to mention Asashoryu's problematic behavior, instead stressing that Japanese sumo officials had pressured him to retire for fear of the fiery yokozuna breaking sumo legend and former yokozuna Taiho's record of 32 title wins.

The newspapers credited Asashoryu with helping bolster sumo's waning fan base as well as contributing to the increase in revenue for the ancient Japanese sport.

Zuunii Medee, a national newspaper, called on the "suspension of sumo broadcasts in Mongolia."

Khaltmaagiin Battulga, who is president of the Mongolian Judo Federation and a minister in the government, said in an interview with Mongolyn Medee, "It appears that Japanese people were afraid of a yokozuna who has foreign nationality breaking a record in the country's traditional sport."

Asashoryu, whose real name is Dolgorsuren Dagvadorj, does not hold Japanese citizenship and therefore cannot remain with the Japan Sumo Association now that he is retired.

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