Known for its morally sound environment, the ancient world sports of Sumo Wrestling suffered a setback after two of its finest wrestlers tested positive for marijuana for the first time on September 3, 2008. Russian siblings, Roho and Hakurozan, were singled out for drug usage after a urine test was conducted by the Japan Sumo Association on a total of 69 wrestlers.
The two wrestlers were awarded lifetime bans for the same, and the decision was reached after an emergency meeting was held between top Sumo officials immediately after the case came into light. Taking onus of the situation, Kitanoumi, the head of Japan Sumo Association had handed over his resignation – he was previously one of the most distinguished Sumo wrestlers himself, and had also been mentoring Hakurozan, one of the accused.
– Kitanoumi, the head of Japan Sumo Association
Unfortunately for those involved in the Sumo wrestling sport, this incident was reported by the media only a month after the arrest of another Russian sportsman, Wakanoho, for possession of marijuana.
With these two events in the backdrop, officials later tried their best to clamp down harder on errant fighters, in order to rectify their somewhat tarnished image in the world forum. As a result of this, the police had also hosted another round of testing on Roho and Hakurozan, to break away from any miscalculations.
Considering that possession of marijuana is considered a serious offence in Japan, the incident had created quite a scandal in the Sumo wrestling world – and marked a black day in the history of wrestling games. This incident became a greater humiliation, given how Sumo traces its way back to religious beginnings.
Sumo reportedly began as a form of ritual to entertain Gods. It is also said that the game was initially practiced by the Gods, after which it was handed down to the people, some 2,000 years ago. In support of this legend, modern day Sumo wrestling matches involve various traditional practices such as sipping of the sacred water, throwing purifying salt into the ring before the match, wrestlers clapping their hands to call Gods, etc.
With the history in view, drug usage – which is already a controversial indulgence – comes across as a disregard and disrespect to tradition and religious practices. Violating norms of sports is not only an insult to the game, but also displays a reckless attitude towards commitment to a specific sport.
The case in point had shaken the wrestling world in the most unexpected manner, and the punishment was doubtlessly equal to the crime committed. There is an urgent need for zero tolerance to drug abuse and violation of game rules, be it for Sumo wrestling, or any other sport.
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