<DATE> Contents

Sumo Souvenirs  
Mark Buckton
Second of a two parter on sumo souvenirs - some hints on avoiding the fluff.
Konishiki
Chris Gould
Takamiyama's 60s / 70s successes notwithstanding Konishiki was sumo's first full-on mover and shaker from lands afar leaving Chris G to take an in-depth look at the ripples the big guy left behind when exiting the sumo pool.
Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
Joe Kuroda's looks back at the life and times of former yokozuna Shiranui.
Eric Evaluates
Eric Blair
Eric IDs the true winners of the henkafest that was the Haru Basho senshuraku.
Rikishi Diary
Mark Kent
Mark Kent - English pro-wrestler and amateur heavyweight sumotori - takes his training a step further on his road to European and World sumo glory.
Heya Peek
Mark Buckton
Oitekaze Beya just to the north of Tokyo and not far from the abode of SFM's Ed-i-C falls under the microscope.
SFM Interview
Carolyn Todd
Carolyn interviews Riho Rannikmaa during his recent trip to Osaka - head of all things sumo in Estonia, friend and mentor of Baruto, this is a man with something to announce.
Sumo la LA
Alisdair Davey
SFM's man in the shadows reports on his recent jaunt in LA, as guest of the Californian Sumo Association and SFM reporter at large.
Photo Bonanzas
Hot on the heels of the recent Ise bonanza - Haru up close and very very personal - some of our best pics to date.
Haru Basho Summary
Lon Howard
Lon wraps the Haru Basho and chucks in a few bits on the henka issues the top dogs are suffering from at present.
Sumo Menko
Ryan Laughton
Sumo cards of old brought to life once again by expert collector Ryan Laughton. None of your BBM offerings here - Pt II of III.
Natsu Ones To Watch
Carolyn Todd
Carolyn ponders the ones to watch come May and Natsu when sumo comes home to Tokyo.
Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko's latest look at sumo's kimarite offers unequalled analysis and in depth explanations.
Amateur Angles
Howard Gilbert
On your marks, get set, go - Howard Gilbert walks us through the months ahead on the amateur calendar.
Kokugi Konnections
Todd Lambert
Click on Todd's latest selection of the best sumo sites the WWW has to offer.
Fan Debate
Facilitator - Carolyn Todd
Should it or shouldn't it? Honbasho go on the overseas road that is. See what SFM's Chris Gould and James Hawkins have to say.
SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
In this issue's cartoon bonanza, sit back and sample ST's latest artistic offerings.
Sumo Odds & Ends
SFM's interactive elements - as always includes Henka Sightings, Elevator Rikishi and Eternal Banzuke!
Let's Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan - A. S. - the face in the crowd reveals almost all - to see everything you'll have to close your eyes.
Readers' Letters
See what our readers had to say since we last hit your screens.
Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster
Answer the Qs and win yourself a genuine banzuke.

Amateur Angles #6
‘Tis the season…

by Howard Gilbert
back into the mainstream of ISF tournaments.  The amateur sumo community waits to see whether they will be forgiven after a year’s ban, or whether they face an existence of appearing when and where they are welcome, and never again representing their countries in future World Championships.
As I write, the Oceania Sumo Championships will have just concluded in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington.  The Oceania region has been struggling in the last few years, with only three active countries and a handful of athletes in each event.  In 2007, all of the Oceania countries face the challenge of sending a team to Switzerland – in recent years having the Sumo World Championships in Japan has helped the bank balance, but going all the way to Europe will truly test their fundraising skills.

Australia will send their veterans, John Traill and Rowan Klein, to Wellington. These two athletes have faced the world’s best in recent years, and they had personal success in Osaka last year.  However, both men must be nearing the end of their careers, and the numbers in Australia have dwindled since I first visited them in late 2003.  The newly elected president of OzSumo, Katrina Watts (a name familiar to many from her days as an NHK sumo commentator), faces the challenge of promoting the sport in Australia and attracting new athletes to amateur sumo.

The host, New Zealand, will be relatively pleased with their year in 2006.  Although the senior team was down in numbers from 2005, this was partly due to an injury sustained by Bill Perenara.

Next


As the amateur sumo world wakes from the relative slumber of the Northern Hemisphere winter, we can expect to see a lot more action in the coming months.  Yes, the ‘season’ for amateur sumo in most countries is upon us for the next half-year or so.  The Japanese tournaments will begin coming thick and fast with the new university year starting this month, and they culminate with the university championships in November and the All-Japan championships in December.  Internationally, a handful of tournaments have been held in Europe so far, the USA Open has just concluded, and the Oceania Sumo Championships will have been decided as this article goes to press.  The climax of international amateur sumo will of course be the Sumo World Championships in mid-November, which this year will be held in the Swiss city of Lausanne, on the shores of Lake Geneva.  

Such activities are exciting for those of us involved in, and who are fans of, amateur sumo.  As such, this Amateur Angles takes a slightly different form from other editions: instead of an article about a single topic, I’ll be looking at what is ahead for this year (or what may have already transpired) and look to see where amateur sumo might be heading.  You might like to look at this as a season preview, although I’ll not be presumptuous enough to actually pick winners for
tournaments!  Let the crystal ball-gazing begin!!

Over the Easter weekend, the US Open hit Los Angeles for what is the biggest amateur sumo event in North America each year.  Athletes from all over the US were joined by an international cast from Bulgaria, Italy, Norway and Mongolia.  On the dohyo, the competition was dominated by Mongolian athletes, echoing that country’s hold on professional sumo.  The titles for all four of the men’s divisions, and the heavyweight and open weight women’s titles will be in Mongolian hand luggage on the return flight.  These results, along with the showing they gave in Osaka last year, suggest that the Mongolian team will be a force to be reckoned with in Lausanne this year.  However, the Mongolians should start their visa applications early, lest they miss out on attending as happened in Riesa, Germany in 2004.

After the upheaval of 2006, with the rise and sudden fall of the World Sumo League (WSL) in North America, it is interesting to note that WSL ‘renegade’ athletes, such as Bulgarian Petar Stoyanov and Norwegian Hans Borg, were competing in this event.  As these athletes were banned from competing in the Sumo World Championships in 2006 by the International Sumo Federation (ISF), it remains to be seen if they will be allowed












































































 

















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