Brazil’s Girls Wrestlers Enter The Ring

'Sumo Is For Everybody': Brazil's Women Wrestlers Enter The Ring

In Japan, ladies are banned from skilled Sumo.

Sao Paulo, Brazil:

If the phrase “sumo wrestler” calls to thoughts a hefty Asian man in a loincloth, Valeria and Diana Dall’Olio, a mother-daughter sumo wrestling workforce from Brazil, have a message: suppose once more.

The Dall’Olios are used to folks saying they’re too small, too fragile or too feminine to observe a sport usually related to hulking Japanese males.

However they are saying that’s simply gasoline for his or her combating spirit once they get within the “dojo,” or ring.

“There’s plenty of prejudice. Whenever you say you observe sumo, some folks suppose you need to be fats,” Valeria, 39, tells AFP, as she prepares for a contest at a public fitness center in Sao Paulo.

“Girls are at all times underneath a microscope within the martial arts, as a result of they’re sports activities which have typically been restricted to male fighters.”

She acquired into martial arts as a lady, learning judo and jiu-jitsu.

In 2016, she fell in love with sumo, which was dropped at Brazil by Japanese immigrants within the early twentieth century.

Quickly, she was profitable bouts — all the way in which as much as the Brazilian nationwide title, which she received 3 times (2018, 2019 and 2021) within the middleweight class (65 to 73 kilograms, 143 to 161 kilos).

She added the South American championship to her trophy case in 2021.

‘Extra Combating Spirit’

“I attempt to stability my totally different lives: homemaker, mom of two. I haven’t got a lot free time,” Valeria says.

Girls are banned from skilled sumo in Japan.

In its birthplace, the extremely ritualized sport has been linked for greater than 1,500 years to the Shinto faith, whose believers have historically seen ladies as impure or unhealthy luck for sumo.

Prior to now, ladies have been banned from attending bouts and even touching sumo wrestlers.

However a global beginner ladies’s sumo championship has been held since 2001. Organizers hope to at some point flip it into an Olympic sport.

Being allowed to compete “is an actual victory for us,” says Valeria.

“We have got extra combating spirit than males, who normally aren’t used to battling on as many fronts as we’re.”

Diana, 18, says she by no means had a lot curiosity in wrestling — till she was interested in sumo by its velocity.

The bouts, by which wrestlers compete to fell or push each other from a round, dirt-floor ring, hardly ever final greater than 30 seconds.

Energy, technique and method are all the things.

Diana placed on a “mawashi,” or sumo loincloth, for the primary time in 2019.

She now competes as a light-weight (underneath 65 kilograms).

“You possibly can really feel the bias,” she says of individuals’s reactions to her selection of sport.

“Lots of people say, ‘Girls are fragile, they get injured and stop,'” she says.

“That is one of many issues we’re studying to battle towards. My era is rising up.”

Battle For Respect

Sumo is rising quick in Brazil, primarily because of ladies, says Oscar Morio Tsuchiya, president of the Brazilian Sumo Confederation.

Girls make up round half the nation’s 600 sumo wrestlers, he says.

“Due to the Shinto rituals, by which ladies could not even go to the ring, plenty of traditionalists have been horrified once they began to compete. However these limitations are being damaged,” he says.

At their Sao Paulo fitness center, the Dall’Olios brush off the dojo’s filth after a tricky day, by which Diana received considered one of her three bouts and Valeria misplaced her just one, towards 18-time Brazilian middleweight champion Luciana Watanabe.

Watanabe, 37, is the general public face of sumo in Brazil.

She shares her ardour for the game by educating it to youngsters in Suzano, a small metropolis with a big Japanese-Brazilian inhabitants 50 kilometers (31 miles) exterior Sao Paulo.

“Males are normally those who educate sumo,” she says.

“However I feel I encourage the youngsters after I present them my titles.”

She, too, says her purpose is to “break prejudice.”

“I need folks to respect this sport extra,” she says.

“So many individuals nonetheless suppose it is only a sport for fats males. Sumo is for everybody.”

(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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