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feminine Sumo Wrestlers Step Up to the RingNews Report, , Posted:

Since the just woman in a collection of triplets, Natasha Ikejiri grew up battling along with her brothers for anything from the tv screen remote to your final serving of dessert — literally and literally.

Now, as a national champ sumo wrestler, Natasha applies the classes she discovered from family area wrestling suits to sumo bands around the world.

“Bigger girls, I’ll struck all of them right on and genuinely, it looks like a head-butt, ” said the 21-year-old with fun from the woman house in Los Angeles. “I’m attempting to drive my head into their diaphragm so they really can’t breathe. They begin freaking away so they operate which’s whenever I have actually full control.”

An all-natural athlete, Natasha’s primary recreation developing up was baseball. Though only five-foot four, she competed in her neighborhood Japanese US baseball league and was proven to muscle her opponents into hoop. When she began university at California State University, Northridge, she in addition joined up with the ROTC, which put her on a strict workout regiment. However the looked at one day having the ability to use the woman athletic abilities in a sumo ring never ever, ever crossed her mind, she says.

That changed whenever a friend saw her wrestling with certainly one of her brothers, George, and welcomed each of all of them to a sumo rehearse. Although Natasha, who's half Japanese and half Portuguese, had taken Japanese language classes for over 10 years, sumo wrestling had been taking care of of her cultural heritage that she understood almost nothing about.

Curious, Natasha and George attended the practice. After discovering the principles in “about five full minutes, ” both won their very first matches right off the bat, she recounts.

“after that they would contact us and get love, ‘Hey would you men want to do this tournament? We’ll feed both you and it’ll be cool!” said Natasha.

She carried on to win more tournaments and finally she visited nationals and won. This year she took part in the SportAccord World Combat Games in Beijing.

In Asia, Natasha and over 1, 000 various other professional athletes representing best in combat sports from all five continents competed in identical stadiums used through the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. In Natasha’s stadium, she recalls being informed there were around 10, 000 men and women seeing into the really stands.

“once I went there I happened to be like, ‘Oh, my gosh!’ There have been simply so many people, like a-sea of individuals. You mightn’t even make out their faces, ” she stated. “There were flashes in great amounts and I also ended up being just standing here thinking, ‘This is crazy.’”

She was disqualified during her first match for breaking the woman opponent’s elbow, but Natasha nevertheless enjoyed putting on a tv show for group throughout the rest of the woman matches, in which she was facing much larger and much more experienced wrestlers than herself.

Even though SportAccord competitors permitted sumo wrestlers to contend on an international amount, the likelihood of sumo becoming an Olympic recreation anytime soon are slim, states Andrew Freund, the manager of USA Sumo.

“The next Olympic games, zero %. Usually the one from then on, zero % … i might state 1st viable chance could be 2020 but also that is a long chance, ” he stated.

In order to become an Olympic sport, sumo would have to undergo an extended and tough admission process; among other criteria, it should be “widely practiced across the world.”

In addition, it must proceed with the Olympic Charter, which states that recreations seeking inclusion toward games must add women’s activities. With this criterion in your mind, the intercontinental sumo neighborhood is motivating feminine participation in sumo, you start with the very first significant women’s-only tournament held in 1997.



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