Meet Kyuta Kumagai, a 187-pound sumo wrestler and the world champion in the under-10 category.
Talent from a young age: When Kumagai was still in kindergarten, his father Taisuke — who is a former amateur sumo wrestler — noticed his son’s potential and entered him in a tournament.
- “There is a talent for sumo and he has that talent,” Kumagai’s father told Reuters. “He won the tournament. I thought he may have something special.”
- After Kumagai won the tournament, his father moved their family to Tokyo’s Fukagawa area, known for producing sumo wrestlers.
- The area is also home to the Nominosukune Shrine, where it is believed that the God of Sumo lives. Because of this, the Kumagais have received plenty of local support.
- Although he is still an elementary school student, Kumagai has already wrestled opponents five to six years older than him, according to Reuters.
Kumagai’s training and diet: Kumagai trains for six days every week. His training includes lifting weights, swimming, and track and field.
- In addition to his extensive training, Kumagai eats between 2,700 to 4,000 calories every day, Gulf News reports.
- To be taken in by a prestigious sumo stable, Kumagai needs to gain 44 extra pounds before he starts middle school at the age of 12.
A tough regimen: Kumagai mentioned to Reuters that sumo training isn’t something he would describe with the word “enjoy.”
- Kumagai’s father is also aware of how difficult sumo training can be, especially for his son, who has cried several times after being pushed too hard by his father.
- However, Kumagai’s father believes that an intense regimen will help his son reach his full potential: “I think he is managing to make time for himself and I think he has time to play with his friends. I don’t think it is too much pressure.”
- In addition to his father, Kumagai has also received support from his coach Shinichi Taira, a former professional wrestler.
- “At the moment, he has great talent,” Taira said.
Kumagai’s future: The young sumo wrestler hopes to reach the highest ranking in sumo, known as “yokozuna.”
- Although Kumagai considered quitting a few times, he does not let his intense training stop him from giving up his dreams.
- “When it became tough… I have thought about [quitting] sometimes,” Kumagai admitted to Reuters.
- When asked about why he enjoys sumo wrestling, Kumagai simply says, “It is fun to beat people older than me.”
Feature Image via Reuters