On Friday the Yokozuna Deliberation Council held one of their periodic reviews of up and coming sekitori. These training sessions are called “Soken” and in the past have been fascinating looks at the state of the wrestlers, and the opinions of the council.
The headline coming from the Soken today is that all 4 Yokozuna appeared, but only Harumafuji did any sumo. This should give sumo fans globally some pause. Out of the 4 top men in sumo, only one was healthy enough to actually engage in any matches. For Kakuryu and Kisenosato, they were present but did not face off against any opponents, they simply performed training exercises. Hakuho arrived in the final minutes, and did not even join in training.
The Council chief, Masatoshi Kitamura, remarked that the situation was “Not satisfactory”, and expressed his disappointment that 3 of the Yokozuna did no sumo.
At this point fans are beginning to worry about the Aki tournament, and with good cause. With few headliners likely to appear and fewer still to make it to day 15, the upcoming Aki basho likely represents a turning point for the current crop of sumo’s best.
- Hakuho – Knee problems, fans may recall that last year he missed Aki for surgery on his toe, but they also did work on his knee. That the knee is once again bothering him is troublesome
- Kisenosato – Has not been healthy enough to train up for Aki. As always everyone is being very vague about his actual condition and holding out phony hope for some miraculous improvement over the course of a few hours that will allow him to compete.
- Kakuryu – Still barely able to walk, has practiced no sumo, faced no opponents in test matches. He is benched for Aki, as it has been made clear he must be fully healthy and highly competitive in his next basho or he is done.
- Harumafuji – He continues to have problems with his knees and elbows, but he is one tough rikishi. He will give it his best shot, and I expect him to at least start Aki.
More details via NHK