Yokozuna Works To Recover From Major Injury
Japan has been over the top obsessed with Kisenosato since he won the New Years tournament in Tokyo, and finally was promoted to Yokozuna. His performance in Osaka was stellar, and he managed to win over a resurgent Ozeki Terunofuji in spite of a major injury to his left upper body. Information about the injury sustained on day 13 against Yokozuna Harmufuji was hard to come by, but it was later learned that he had torn his left pectoral muscle, and would take at least a month to recover.
The month passed and the spring Jungyo public exhibitions were going at full pace. Other injured rikishi joined the tour, including Yokozunas Hakuho and Harumafuji – both of which were recovering from their own injuries. But still no sign of Kisenosato.
His stablemaster, Tagonoura Oyakata, stated his primary focus was to return Japan’s favorite Yokozuna to full health and fighting form. But it has been clear to sumo fans that Kisenosato’s injury may have been more severe than was originally reported.
Earlier this week, the Yokozuna Deliberation Council held one of their periodic training and evaluation sessions, referred to as a Soken, where all of the leading Sekitori are present, fighting practice matches. This time it was held at the Kokugikan, and the public was invited to watch.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Kisenosato was a no-show. The Japan Sumo Association was furious that their tops star and number 1 ratings machine had skipped the first big PR event for the upcoming Natsu Basho, and had failed to even tell anyone he was not coming.
Stable master Tagonoura Oyakata quickly took blame for the failure of communication for the Yokozuna, but it was a spectacular and unforced embarrassment. Kisenosato further stated “Since I can’t do any sumo against sekitori, I was allowed to rest. I could have gone and done the basic shiko and stuff, but I preferred to try and do sumo against the lower rankers at home. This is unforgivable..”
Forward to today, where the practices between stables is in full swing, as the sumotori ready themselves for a sold out Natsu basho. But Kisenosato is still at home at Tagonoura, practicing against lower-level rakishi.
As of today, it would be prudent to mark Kisenosato as questionable for Natsu. It’s clear that he is still not fully recovered, and that he is guarding his condition in hopes of dramatic improvement over the next 8 days, and that somehow allows him to make a good showing for the first week of Natsu.