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Sumo: Grand champ Harumafuji out of New Year tournament

Published on Jan 10, 2014 4:29 PM

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's premier sumo tournament will go ahead without one of its grand champions for the first time in five years, officials said on Friday, with Harumafuji sidelined by an ankle injury.

Harumafuji, one of two reigning "yokozuna", will skip the New Year tournament due to start at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Sunday, the Japan Sumo Association said.

The 29-year-old Mongolian, who reached the sport's top rank in September 2012, twisted his right ankle and partially tore ligaments when he slipped while running in training in late December, his stablemaster Isegahama said.

"I really wanted to compete. But I would have worsened the condition if I compete with my left ankle as it is," Harumafuji, whose real name is Davaanyam Byambadorj, told reporters at his stable.

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