When most people think of sumo they think of the giant athletes that populate the professional sumo tournaments run bi-annually in Japan. However, amateur sumo is a thriving sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee including both male and female competition and weight categories, giving all a fan and sporting chance.
Amasumo weight divisions for men:
Lightweight – under 85kg
Middleweight – under 115kg
Heavyweight – over 115kg
Amasumo weight divisions for women:
Lightweight – under 65kg
Middleweight – under 80kg
Heavyweight – over 80kg
Lightweight boys – under 75kg girls -under 60
Middleweight boys – under 100kg girls -under 75kg
Heavyweight boys – over 100kg girls 0ver 75kg
Amateur Sumo also has junior divisions 13 to 18 years old. Weight divisions for juniors are: Under 80kg, under100 kg and over 100kg for boys; under 60kg, under 75kg and over 75kg for girls. Sumo is a sport for everyone. It requires equal parts skill, technique and spirit. Sumo keeps you fit and flexible, sharpens your mind and enhances fortitude.
The rules are simple. Only the sole of the foot is allowed to touch the ring and the loser is the first to be lifted, pushed or thrown out of or down in the 4.55m ring. Matches can be over in seconds and rarely last more than a minute. Sumo is a sport where respect for your opponent is valued. It begins with a bow and ends with a bow. Forbidden are punching, kicking, grabbing the hair, the throat or the front part of the mawashi (belt), poking the eyes, slapping the head, twisting the fingers and biting. In the case of women’s sumo, pulling the clothes is also forbidden.
All competitors wear the traditional mawashi, a canvas belt passing between the legs, wrapped tightly around the waist and tied in a knot at the back. Women wear a leotard underneath and men, if they choose to do so, can wear regulation pants like cycling shorts. The mawashi is tightly wrapped and acts as a protection in the same way as a weight lifters belt. If your opponent gets a strong grip on your mawashi he or she can use it to throw you or force you out. In all, there are 82 recognized winning techniques using lifting, throwing, pushing, leg trips, slapping down and various other manoeuvres.
Sumo is one of the world’s oldest sports and to this day is still enjoyed by millions of thrilled spectators and athletes alike worldwide.