The World Games explained: Sumo

The World Games explained: Sumo
Sumo bouts usually last less than a minute and sometimes are over in a few seconds. (contributed)

We are less than two years away from the World Games 2021 taking place in and around Birmingham. Alabama NewsCenter is explaining what you can expect to see. Today, we look at Sumo.

Sumo is a competitive, full-contact wrestling sport where a wrestler (rikishi) attempts to force another wrestler out of a 4.55-meter circular ring (dohyō) or into touching the ground with anything other than the soles of his or her feet.

While competing, athletes wear a loincloth (mawashi). Women wear leotards underneath the mawashi. Punching, poking, kicking the chest or abdominal areas, taking hold of the opponent’s hair, throat, clothing other than the mawashi, the maebukuro (front pouch part of mawashi), bending back the opponent’s fingers, biting, or slapping the opponent’s face with an arm outstretched more than shoulder width are not allowed.

A wrestler wins a sumo match by forcing his or her opponent outside the ring or by forcing any part of the opponent’s body other than the soles of the feet to touch the floor. (contributed)

At the initial charge, both wrestlers must jump up from the crouch simultaneously after touching the surface of the ring with two fists. Bouts are typically very short, usually ranging from a few seconds to less than a minute. Each match is preceded by an elaborate ceremonial ritual.

Sumo originated in Japan but is also popular in Russia and Ukraine. Although commonly associated with heavyweight wrestlers, the sport has lighter weight divisions as well. It has been part of the World Games since 2002.

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