Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Behind the Curtain - May 2009

There is post Golden Week holiday buzz in the air, along with the sounds of a curtain fluttering in the wind. It is from behind this curtain that men of sumo step out into the glory of the sekitori rank, to collect their “ten gold coins,” and to enjoy benefits of lower ranked wrestlers as their attendants, 24 x 7. This Natsu Basho we have only previous sekitori return to the paid ranks.

Sagatsukasa is ranked at Juryo 14 East and spent the first two tournaments of 2009 in the Makushita division, having made his previous visit to the paid ranks at the Fukaoka Basho last November. This 27-year-old from Irumagawa-beya always does his very best since reaching Juryo the first time in November 2007. Expect him to remain in the paid ranks for the rest of 2009, and exceeding his top rank of his career so far, that of Juryo 9.

Jumonji gets slotted at Juryo 14 West in somewhat of comeback. We have not seen this guy in a silk mawashi since November 2007, the exact same basho that Sagatsukasa made his debut. At 33 years old, time is not on Jumonji’s side, but dropping out of the paid ranks due to an injured shoulder, then 18 months later getting back out from behind the curtain. Some feel that his style of sumo is mediocre. Representing Michinoku-beya, he managed to notch 510 Makuuchi bouts, yet never faced either a yokozuna or ozeki. He does come from a prefecture in Japan noted for sumo, Aomori-ken, so he has that going for him. It is unlikely that will be enough for him to once again reach his highest rank ever, Makuuchi 6, anytime soon.

Tamaasuka appears from behind the curtain at Juryo 13 West. Tama is a textbook elevator wrestler, in the past 6 basho, he was ranked Makushita, Juryo, Makushita, Juryo, Juryo, Makushita, respectively. So does this sekitori from Kataonami-beya have what it takes to remain in the paid ranks longer than 2 tournaments? Definitely! He is only 25 years old and has been has high up the ladder as Makuuchi 9, so the potential is there.

Three sekitori appear and three sekitori must disappear, that is of way of the sumo world. We have already read of the demise of Wakrin in our last issue, besides him, we have a retiring sekitori, and one wrestler demoted back to Makushita.

Yotsuguruma did not put together a winning record since he was promoted to Juryo back in November 2008. It appears he overstayed his welcome in the paid ranks. He needs to quickly get his act together, at 28-years-old, now is the time for him to get back in that silk mawashi and stay in it. A sumotori from Isenoumi-beya, he needs to put in extra practice to return.

Otsukasa decided that he would not return behind the curtain, instead at 38-years-old, he chose to hang up his mawashi and retire. Otsukasa was born February 18, 1971 and wanted to become a sumo wrestler since he was a little kid. Both his father and grandfather were huge sumo fans. He certainly managed to make his dream come true. He closed with a career record of 616-660-1, having spent 97 basho in sumo. Then later on, 3 and half years ago, that Kotonowaka retired, and that left Otsukasa the oldest active sekitori, until now. The title of oldest active sekitori now belongs to Tosanoumi.

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