Thursday, December 31, 2009

Behind the Curtain - January 2010

The Year of the Tiger has begun in Tokyo and with it begins the New Year Tournament at Kokugikan, where we will see not one, but two, newly promoted sekitori, make their debut from behind the curtain.

Ms1e Sokokurai (5-2) is only the second Chinese national to make it to the paid ranks since Kiyonohana way back in 1974. From Day 5 at Fukuoka, when he pulled a neat tsuridashi against Hochiyama, it looked like he would have little trouble getting the four wins necessary to break through the curtain. Of course this forecast was challenged when on Day 11 he played it safe, coming out a little cautious, giving Kurosawa the initiative, who make an all-out attack, giving Sokokurai a loss via hikiotoshi. But by Day 13, Sokokurai had 5 wins and the promotion locked up, with the benefit that he held the East #1 slot of Makushita.

Ms1w Miyogiryu (妙義龍) (5-2), formerly Miyamoto, won 4 straight, after going 1-2, to punch his ticket to wearing a silk mawashi for the first time. From the time he competed in sumo at Saitama Sakae High, it was obvious that one day he would enter Ozumo and be successful at it. In between, he attended Nittai University, doing well enough there that he earned himself a Makushita Tsukedashi qualification to enter below Makushita 15 at his dohyo debut in May. He notched up 4 straight kachikoshi results to make his sekitori debut at the first tourney of 2010. He has sanyaku hopes written all over, due to his hard work ethic, solid mental strength and just plain good sumo skills. Ozumo needs a new star, Miyogiryu might be just the guy!

These two step up to Juryo because two other wrestlers are falling down the banzuke, and behind the curtain.

Kotoyutaka J14w (4-11) fell apart after Day 10, losing his 5 last days. He first put on the silk mawashi at the Nagoya basho. He has the skill and size (146kg), we ought to see him out in front of the curtain by next Nagoya basho.

Daishoumi J10w (4-11), like Kotoyutaka, also fell apart after Day 10, losing his 5 last days. Perhaps the wear and tear of the first 10 days took its toll on Daishoumi. Since somewhat young at 25 years old, we should watch him climb quickly back in the Juryo division in 2010.