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Akinomaki

49th National middle school sumo championships

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It seems that three years is a long time in sumo. I was expecting a Narita-Uchida rematch in at least one of the middle school tournaments this year, but today's final was Morita Akihiko (who?) vs Niishima Ibuki. At least I've heard of one of them......

When I wrote the featured club article about Amami Oshima's Sumiyo Sumo Club, I concentrated on the friendship and rivalry of Sakae, Hamada and Nishika, three very good sumo wrestlers who happen to be in the same year group. Also appearing in the documentary about the club is someone a year younger than the trio - Niishima Ibuki. Ibuki is someone who has always been close to winning a national tournament, but there were two mountains in his year group who were so so difficult to overcome. Not any more. By overcoming the Mongolian viper Sosorufu in the semi-finals, Ibuki has proven that he fully deserves the title of Middle School Yokozuna, even though his celebrations at the end attracted quite some attention from the gyoji.

Ibuki.jpg

The biggest take-away though from this tournament is just how good the second years are. So many of them were able to make it to the knock-out stages, and one of them, Osaka's Tasaki Masami, even made it all the way to the semi-finals. This bodes very well for next year's middle school tournaments, which look very exciting already.

Tasaki.jpg

Just an aside, Tasaki Masami's quarter-final opponent was Kumamoto's Honda Kotaro, who lost that bout because he tried to henka Masami, but it just didn't work. He's someone who always gets your hopes up during a tournament, only to dash them during the latter stages (mental weakness perhaps?). Come on Kotaro, you're so much better than that!

If the individual tournament was difficult to predict, the team tournament was even more so. In fact, out of the 12 wrestlers who made it to the team semi-finals, I've only heard of one of them, and even that was because he (Takeuchi Fumu) was part of a trio of siblings who achieved good results during their Wanpaku days. However, there were still take-aways from the team tournament.

One of the take-aways is that former Hakuho Cup winner Nishijima Yura has moved to Saitama (from Chiba). The same thing happened last year with Chris Gould's favourite sumo kid, Tebakari Taiki, and that can only mean one thing - Yura has his sights set on Saitama Sakae High School.

Image result for 相撲 西島 悠来

The other take-away is Team Wakayama, who reached the round of 16 today. That team is worth mentioning because at least two of its three members are first-years. Club-mates Nishide Daiki and Nakanishi Kaishin have always competed with each other for that one spot at the Wanpaku Tournament, but now they have joined forces to put Wakayama on the map. They already look like the team to beat in two years' time.

Wakayama.jpg

Also led by two first-years are Team Nagano, who owe their results to the Hayashi twins, Rei and Ryu. They are inspired to work hard by their club senpai, Mitakeumi, so it would be really cool to see them do well.

Hayashi.jpg

Team Tochigi were the winners today, beating Team Ishikawa in the final.

Edited by mikawa
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Oh, and one more thing. Among the wrestlers who made it to the knock-out stages is a boy named Munakata Seiren. Anyone remember him?

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The winning Tochigi team (from the Otawara city Wakakusa middle school) on the 28th reported to the governor the first title for the prefecture

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Edited by Akinomaki
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A video showing Tasaki Masami's progress through the tournament. He's definitely a pusher thruster.

 

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