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Education News

Best way to grapple with sumo

Last Saturday these pages featured former footballer-turned racehorse trainer, Mick Quinn. He was affectionately known as "Sumo" by fans because of his girth.

Also last week there was a report that the Hawaiian-born sumo wrestler Konishiki, "The Dump Truck", had had to retire as his knees would no longer support his great weight as it edged over 43 stone. But his popularity is such that he is the only sumo wrestler to have his own web site, where you find all his details and print-off his handprint.

The best site to keep you up to date with Japan's No 1 sport is Sumo Now!. This contains two columns, by the sumo experts Ken Coller and Michael Cohen, which have descriptive details of all the bouts. There is a glossary, descriptions of all the sumo rules and techniques, including all the methods of winning a bout, statistics with the wrestler's ranking, weight and height and links to other sumo sites.

The glossary is essential reading to understand the differences between the various rankings from a yokozuna at the top, to an ozeki, a seriwake, a komusubi and maegashira at the bottom.

Konishiki ended his career as the first non-Japanese ozeki and there was a certain amount of controversy that he never gained the title of yokozuna.

Channel 4's flirtation with sumo lasted all too briefly and I always enjoyed Lyall Watson's considered commentary.

The Official Japanese Sumo Association has its own website in English which contains the latest results, a good beginner's guide and details of the greats.

And if you're short of ideas for that problem Christmas present, how about The Big Book of Sumo which comes with its own specially strengthened coffee-table. You can order via Atrium Books.

- Edward Abelson