Sumo Wrestling Scandal
The art of sumo wrestling, traditional Japanese martial arts, has been tainted beyond belief. A scandal has been exposed to public.
A scandal ripping through the traditional Japanese sport of sumo appeared to spread further Wednesday with a report saying up to 40 wrestlers had been involved in bout fixing.
Allegations against 14 mid-ranked grapplers surfaced last month when incriminating cell phone messages were leaked to the press, Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun reported.
The claims led to the cancellation of one of six annual tournaments and affected a number of lucrative sponsorship deals.
Now one of the 14 accused has allegedly told investigators that he knew of around 40 wrestlers who were involved in fixing results.
Fighter-turned-stablemaster Takenawa was one of three people who had admitted trading wins, a practice that allows wrestlers to avoid a drop in their ranking and the accompanying large salary cut.
“It was not only us who were involved in match-fixing. There were also about 40 others. Why are we the only ones who stand accused?” Takenawa was quoted as saying.
Takenawa, 35, who retired from competition last January, confessed that he was enticed into match fixing for the first time in early 2006, the daily said.
At that time, the attendants of three high-ranked wrestlers asked him to throw matches against their masters, but Takenawa declined their propositions, the daily said.
The sport has long been under a pall of suspicion, but no active wrestler had ever acknowledged guilt until last month when the incriminating text messages surfaced.
About 30 sumo figures are due to face prosecutors in the gambling scandal, include Kotomitsuki who reached the second highest rank of “ozeki,” and former stablemaster Otake, the Mainichi and the Jiji Press news agency reported.
(from full article courtesy msn.com, foxsports)
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