Tue, Jan 27, 2009 - Page 8 News List

Asashoryu wants to be president: report

AFP , TOKYO

Mongolian sumo grand champion Asashoryu raises his arms in celebration as he celebrates his victory over Mongolian grand champion Hakuho in the championship playoff to win the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo on Sunday.

PHOTO: AFP

After conquering the ancient Japanese sport of sumo, Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu’s next ambition is to become president of his homeland, a report said yesterday.

“I will be president of Mongolia,” Asashoryu told Takaju Hinahata, the former sumo hairdresser whom he calls his “Dad in Japan,” according to the Nikkan Sports tabloid.

Asashoryu, 28, said he planned to continue his sumo career until age 30 and run in national elections as early as 2012 as a stepping stone to the presidency, the newspaper said.

Hinahata, 65, had been doing Asashoryu’s hair in the traditional top-knot style until he retired last year.

He sat next to the Mongolian in a motorcade on Sunday after the wrestler clinched his 23rd trophy, which elevated him to No. 4 in sumo history.

Asashoryu’s win made the front pages of yesterday’s Japanese newspapers, which carried pictures of him raising his arms in victory or fighting back tears.

The paper quoted a source close to the wrestler as saying “Asashoryu has strong feelings towards Genghis Khan,” who built the sprawling Mongolian empire in the 13th century.

“That’s why he has a strong wish to reach the top of the country,” the daily quoted the anonymous source as saying.

Mongolia shook off seven decades of communist rule in 1990 and has since had a mostly smooth democracy, although last year it witnessed deadly riots over allegations of election fraud.

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