Fri, Jul 12, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Osunaarashi balances his religion, sumo at Nagoya

AP, NAGOYA, Japan

“People have told me to be careful now that I’m in juryo,” Osunaarashi said. “People say the wrestlers are tougher and the wrestlers are great, but I feel I am tough and great too.”

Osunaarashi was introduced to sumo at the age of 14. A sumo coach in Egypt suggested he give it a shot because of his size. He weighed 120kg at the time, but lost seven out of seven bouts to a wrestler half his weight and realized there was something more to the sport than he had first assumed.

So he studied videos of former grand champion Takanohana to get a better understanding of the sport. It obviously helped and in 2008, he won a bronze medal at the World Junior Sumo Championships and moved to Japan in 2011 to pursue his career full-time.

For now, Japan is home for Osunaarashi, who studied accounting and management at university. He has followed developments in Egypt, but said he is too focused on sumo to get caught up in it.

“I follow what’s going on, but I don’t like the political stuff,” Osunaarashi said. “I’m just trying to do my best for my country and forget about politics... To make something good for my country I have to do well in sumo.”

“I believe one day I will be the first Arab grand champion,” the Egyptian added.

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