No. 8 maegashira Asanoyama clinched his first championship at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo. U.S. President Donald Trump became the main attraction on an otherwise anticlimactic final day.
He was accompanied by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, U.S. first lady Melania Trump and Japanese first lady Akie Abe. They arrived prior to Asanoyama’s bout against komusubi Mitakeumi. The pair of wrestlers were forced to stand in the ring for several minutes while the entourage entered the arena and took their seats.
a mix of fans and protesters outside of the stadium where President Trump will attend a Sumo wrestling match tonight pic.twitter.com/4Bl226CB6K
— Tara Palmeri (@tarapalmeri) May 26, 2019
Asanoyama is the first rank-and-file wrestler since 1961 to win a grand tournament before reaching the three sanyaku ranks below yokozuna, said he tried to chill his mind and not think for the title at all:
“If I thought about possibly winning the championship, I would have tightened up, so I did what I could not to think about it,” Asanoyama said after receiving the first President’s Cup from Trump.
“I felt a lot of pressure, but I was able to wrestle like I always do because I believed in myself. I still have much to accomplish. I want to do my best to become a big-name wrestler.”