Thursday, July 21, 2005
A very funny sumo bout
Last time I posted about Sumo it got a thoroughly poor reception in certain quarters. "It is as bad as football. Dead boring," was the refrain. Accordingly, I kept my blatherings confined to the comments section of that last post. The Nagoya Grand Tournament has just finished its 12th day (three more to go) and, contrary to expectations of an Asashoryu stroll, we have a lead shared between Asashoryu and the Bulgarian Kotooshu. They have both lost two bouts and both won today[1,2].
Anyway, the reason for breaking my sumo purdah, is today's classic bout between my nippy favourite Ama and his fellow Mongolian Tokitenku. People often seem to think Sumo is a silly sport. Well, sometimes it can be really silly.
On a more serious note, here is a study putting up a good argument that there is match fixing in top level sumo. The research was published in 2000, so it is old news to me, but I hadn't heard it before. The authors argue that it has been going on for a long time and that parts of the sumo establishment may have tolerated or even facilitated the fixing. There have been media reports over a number of years of match fixing by some fairly prominent wrestlers, including the former Yokozuna Akebono.
I wonder whether an even bigger scandal might be around the corner? It is mere speculation but, with large numbers of foreigners now entering sumo (there are something like 35 Mongolian wrestlers), the sumo world may not continue to be the very tight community with common language and ethos that it has always been. The number of potentially corrupt wrestlers and sources of corruption may increase, but also the number of possible whistleblowers. Another factor to bear in mind is that sumo is televised abroad now and seems ideally suited as a gamblers' sport. As English football knows to its cost, big stakes on unregulated foreign tables are dangerous for fair play or even traditional old unfair play in any sport.
Posted by Nonjatta at 10:27 pm