Japan get first sumo champion in 19 years

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For the first time in almost 20 years, a local Japanese sumo has become grand champion.

Kisenosato Yutaka won the first sumo tournament of 2017. He is now the first Japanese-born wrestler to win a tournament since 1998.

Yutaka made his debut in 2002 and it’s taken 73 tournaments for him to become a grand champion. He weighs a whopping 178kg which is about 28 stone.

Sumo wrestling is one of the biggest sports in Japan. However, wrestlers from other parts of the world have been dominating the sport, and the win for a local sumo is seen as a massive boost for the traditional sport.

Recently fewer kids in Japan have been taking up the sport, partly because it is seen as difficult, and requires a very strict life.

But the sport is attractive to wrestlers from other nations, who can earn a good living. Wrestlers have come from Estonia, Bulgaria, Georgia, China, Hawaii and Egypt, as well as Mongolia and American Samoa.

What is sumo?
Japan’s traditional sport dates back hundreds of years.
Two wrestlers face off in a circular ring and try to push each other to the ground or out of the ring.
There are six tournaments each year in which each wrestler fights 15 bouts.
Each tournament begins on a Sunday and runs for 15 days, ending also on a Sunday.
Wrestlers, who traditionally go by one fighting name, are ranked and the ultimate goal is to become a yokozuna, or grand champion.

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