Hakuho To Treat Himself After 1000th Win
The Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament would be a milestone for Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho, as not only would he win his 41st championship, go a perfect 15-0, but clinch his 1000th career victory.
“Considering my condition before the tournament, it was literally just a dream,” the 33-year-old Miyagino stable wrestler told reporters on Monday.
“(On winning 1,000 bouts) I thought children who hope to take up the sport in the future will work very hard if they have a goal,” he said. “I want to give myself a treat for this.”
The Autumn tournament win would mark the first championship of 2018 for Hakuho, who would withdraw from three competitions over the course of the year.
The flashpoint for the second-generation wrestler was on the 13th day of the tournament, when he faced rival and fellow yokozuna, Kisenosato. Much like Hakuho, Kisenosato would have injuries force him out of eight-straight tournaments.
“I think he did a fine job (at the meet),” Hakuho said of his 32-year-old longtime rival, who finished at 10-5 and completed a full tournament for the first time since the 2017 Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
“He is someone who will propel the sport to greater prosperity. I want him to experience more (as a yokozuna),” Hakuho said.
This was a special win for Hakuho, as this was the first tournament he had won since the passing of his father and fellow yokozuna, Jigjid Munkhbat, who passed away at the age of 76 in April.
A silver medalist in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Munkhbat was a role model to Hakuho. So much so, the Mongolian is looking to compete until the 2020 games in Tokyo, the same place his father made his Olympic debut in 1964.
“People can double their strength if they are doing their best for somebody else,” Hakuho said. “I know that parents are most proud when their children are working hard.”
Initial Report: Japan Times