The Japan Sumo Association has elevated 21-year-old Egyptian Abdelrahman Ahmed Shaalan to the elite “makuuchi” division, continuing the young man’s rise in the world of sumo wrestling. He is the first man of Arabian or African descent to become a professional sumo wrestler in Japan.
Known in the ring as Osunaarashi (“The Great Sandstorm“), the young man will now be in a division with 42 other wrestlers, including two grand champions (yokozuna), both from Mongolia. At a news conference celebrating his achievement, the Egyptian said he feels more tense than happy right now and believes he still has a lot more to work on, since the wrestlers in this level are much stronger than him. Weighing at 146 kilograms (322 pounds), the 6 foot, 2 inch tall Sandstorm says he will be working even harder to establish his own sumo style, while at the same time trying to become more powerful. “I don’t care who my opponents may be, as Osunaarashi I will be all right against anyone,” he said.
He indeed has made a meteoric rise in the world of sumo, making his debut in March of 2012, and losing just two doubts in each of the eight tournaments he participated in. He already reached the second division in May of this year and proceeded to win 10-5 in each of the eight tournaments, doing so while fasting during the first tournament in July, since he is a devout Muslim. Only thirty-nine foreign-born wrestlers have made it to the top division, but Osunaarashi has the distinction of being the quickest to do so.
[ via AFP ]
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