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Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer sumo to go ahead in Nagoya

Kyodo

The Japan Sumo Association decided Thursday to hold the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament from July 10 to 24, the first regular tourney since a match-fixing scandal broke in February.

Following the decision, public broadcaster NHK announced live coverage of the tournament, explaining that the match-fixing issue has come to a certain conclusion because of the JSA's proper handling of the matter and people around the country, including those affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, were calling for the resumption of coverage.

The JSA conducted a series of investigations and forced a total of 25 wrestlers and coaches into retirement in April.

"I'm relieved we finally get to hold a regular tournament," said JSA board member Tomozuna, who is in charge of Nagoya tournament operations.

The biggest scandal in the history of the ancient sport caused the cancellation of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in March.

The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in May was replaced by a "Technical Examination Tournament," in which spectators were allowed free admission to watch sumo and no cash prizes were offered for wrestlers, but the bout results stood toward drafting the banzuke rankings for the next tournament.

Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho won the test meet with a 13-2 record, tying former yokozuna Asashoryu's all-time record with seven consecutive titles.

In Nagoya, Hakuho will try to go one better than Asashoryu and claim his 20th career title.

On Wednesday, JSA chairman Hanaregoma visited sports minister Yoshiaki Takaki to explain his association's measures to prevent a recurrence of match fixing as well as structural reform plans to continue receiving preferential tax treatment.

Takaki gave the go-ahead for the Nagoya meet, according to sources familiar with the meeting.



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