The Inaugural Sumo national championship concluded on the 25th January at the YMCA Colombo indoor premises. The one day event held for the first time in the history saw the participation of over 200 competitors who fought in the Senior and Junior categories for both men and women.
Sumo, a sport originated in Japan is a full contact wrestling sport where wrestlers knows as a “rikishi” attempt to force the opponent out of a circular ring or try to make the opponent touch the floor with anything other than the soles of their feet. Japan is the only country where Sumo is competed professionally and is the national sport of the country.
The sport was introduced to Sri Lanka in the year 2010 and made the first appearance in an international tournament in 2014. The inaugural National Championship was eagerly competed in 6 weight categories for both Junior/Senior men and women.
Speaking exclusively to ThePapare.com the national coach Lasantha Gunawardene was excited about the future of the sport in the Island.
“We have some really good strong wrestlers in the country and it was really encouraging to see how much they have improved since we started out the sport in Western, Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces. Sumo is on the pending list for the 2020 Olympics. Japan is the host of the 2020 Olympics and there is a big possibility that sumo will be included as it is the national sport of the country. We have selected 4 wrestlers from each weight class and created a national pool which will train under my guidance and we look forward to getting at least 4to 5 wrestlers from Sir Lanka qualified for the Olympics”
Chamila Karawita from Matugama SC was crowned as best wrestler in the Senior Men’s while Achala Fernanado from Air Force was adjudged as the best wrestler in the Senior Women’s Category. Navy SC and Air Force SC emerged as joint champs in the senior men’s competition while Air Force clinched the Women’s title.
U.Isuranga & H.Melani both from Parakrama Maha Vidyalaya, Kandy was adjudged the best male & female wrestlers in the junior category respectively. Parakrama Maha Vidyalaya, Kandy had a clean sweep winning both male & female overall titles in the junior category.
The closing ceremony was graced by the minister of sport Dayasiri Jayasekara and Kenichi Suganuma the Japanese ambassador to the Island.