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What better place for them to train than the birthplace of sumo?

The ongoing war in Ukraine has affected the lives of millions, including civilians. Athletes are no exception, and many have been unable to continue their normal training, competitions, and daily lives in general. That’s when Japan came up with a plan to help Ukrainian sumo wrestlers in training continue building their skills.

Eight amateur sumo wrestlers, both men and women, hailing from Ukraine are currently taking a training tour of Japan in preparation of an international tournament. Though Ukraine has currently banned men aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country in light of the ongoing war, athletes competing at a world tournament are given special permission.

▼ Some of the training sessions took place in Ehime Prefeture, and local mascot Mikyan even appeared in a special piece of artwork to commemorate the event.

The wrestlers have been in Japan since the end of May, paying a visit to the Ukrainian Embassy in Japan and participating in a press conference. They then went sightseeing in Tokyo’s Asakusa neighborhood before heading off to Usa in Oita Prefecture, otherwise known as the mecca of sumo wrestling, where they practiced for the upcoming world tournament.

▼ They look more than ready.

Next on their agenda was to relocate to Seiyo in Ehime prefecture for another training session. Seiyo hosts Japan’s annual Otoi Sumo tournament, so naturally, their sumo facilities are well-equipped. They’ll be training there until June 29, when they’ll travel back to Tokyo. The athletes’ journey through Japan ends on …continue reading