[sumo] Asa goes to court
Sumocypher at aol.com
Sumocypher at aol.com
Fri Oct 3 07:46:23 EDT 2008
Link is at the bottom of the article.
Nobody puts asashoryu in the corner
Asashoryu goes to court to deny bout-fixing
October 3, 2008 - 6:39PM
Sumo's top wrestler Asashoryu made an unprecedented court appearance to deny
a magazine allegations that he fixed bouts, one of a string of scandals
hanging over the ancient sport.
It marked the first-ever testimony in court by a yokozuna, a grand champion
at the top of the sumo echelon who is expected to be a taciturn role model.
Asashoryu, a Mongolian, has long had a testy relationship with the Japanese
media and athletic establishment, who consider him too brash.
The Shukan Gendai, a weekly magazine that features sensational scoops,
reported in January last year that Asashoryu had paid opponents about Y800,000
($10,000) per fight to allow him to win.
"These are complete lies," Asashoryu said. "Each match is real."
"I am very sad and disgusted," a visibly agitated Asashoryu said as he glared
at the journalist who wrote the article, according to a correspondent for
the TBS network who was inside the courtroom.
Asashoryu, the fifth highest ranking wrestler in modern sumo history, is
joined by 31 other wrestlers and the Japan Sumo Association in seeking a
reported Y660 million ($8.12 million) yen from leading publisher Kodansha Ltd.,
which prints the magazine.
Hundreds of people waited from the early morning for the chance to get one of
the 62 seats for the hearing at the Tokyo District Court.
The magazine's case was supported in court by Itai, a former sumo wrestler
who caused a sensation in 2000 when he alleged widespread bout-fixing during
his 1978-1991 career.
Itai, who has said he wants to root out corruption to save the sport, told
the court today that up to 80 per cent of bouts were fixed.
"When I was around, a yokozuna and a (second-ranked) ozeki would buy a win
for about 700,000 to 800,000 yen from other wrestlers," Itai told the
courtroom, according to Jiji Press.
Sumo has been rocked by scandals in recent years including the death of a
young trainee who was beaten by his master and the expulsion of three Russian
wrestlers for smoking marijuana.
Soslan Gagloev, one of the expelled Russians, caused a stir on Monday by
saying he would also testify on behalf of the magazine and "tell all" about
bout-fixing, drug use and other "evil things" in sumo.
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