Roho defeats Kotooshu
Russian Roho spoiled Kotooshu's ozeki debut in Tokyo yesterday with an upset win on the first day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament. Roho, a No. 2 maegashira, got a left-hand grip on Kotooshu's belt after the faceoff at Ryogoku Kokugikan and threw the Bulgarian wrestler down to post an opening-day win. Kotooshu was promoted to sumo's second highest rank in November after posting 11 wins in the Kyushu tourney but couldn't kick off his ozeki career on a winning note after absorbing a crushing blow at the faceoff. A former European junior champion in amateur wrestling, Kotooshu follows Hawaiian-born wrestlers Konishiki, Musashimaru, Akebono and Mongolian-born Asashoryu in becoming the fifth non-Japanese ozeki.
■ Auto racing
Magnaldi wins Stage 8
Thierry Magnaldi of France won the eighth stage of the Dakar Rally in Nouakcott, Mauritania on Saturday. Magnaldi, who also won stage six, clocked 5 hours, 56 seconds to claim his second stage victory of this year's race. American driver Marc Miller was 6 minutes, 52 seconds behind, as was another Frenchman, Stephane Peterhansel. Peterhansel's result allowed him to edge countryman Luc Alphand out of the overall lead. Alphand was 32 seconds behind, with South Africa's Giniel de Villiers third. Saturday's race was a 508km trek from Atar to Mauritania's capital, Nouakchott. The race starts up again today in the ninth stage to Kiffa. In the motorcycle category, Spain's Marc Coma maintained his overall lead, finishing fifth. The Dakar race takes more than 1,400 drivers, in 508 teams from more than 40 countries, on a 9,043km route from Lisbon, Portugal, to the Senegalese capital. Racers compete in cars, bikes, trucks and ATVs.