The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Weight and see big men in big bout
- City’s first sumo duel lined up at Netaji Indoor to promote fitness awareness

You’ve cheered the man mountains on the small screen — taking on each other in the ring and beating Beckham and Co. hollow on the football field. This winter, you’ll have a ‘live’ ringside — and even street corner — view of sumo wrestlers in action.

Konishiki, the Gentle Giant, will hurl his 6’3’’ frame, last weighed at 283 kg, at comrade Mainoumi from Japan in the “first-ever sumo duel” in the city. The November 30 spectacle at Netaji Indoor Stadium is being organised by the Ghosh Yoga College to mark the birth centenary of yoga legend Byamacharya Bishnu Charan Ghosh. Lending even more weight to the heavyweight programme will be a couple of former Mr Universe hulks from the US.

“Promoting awareness on physical fitness will be the main theme of the daylong programme,” says Biswanath Ghosh, son of the late Bishnu Charan, whose akhara at 4/2, Rammohun Roy Road was the grooming ground for Beverly Hills-based yoga guru Bikram Chowdhury, former Mr Universe Manotosh Roy and many more.

The spotlight will firmly be on Hawaiian-born Rikishi Konishiki, who rose to the top of the sumo honour rolls before retiring and then throwing his weight behind Amnesty social campaigns. And all the mega plans revolve around his confirmation, that has reached the city. “We have a long tradition of wrestling in the city. But people have never had the chance to see sumo wrestlers in action,” says Ghosh, in charge of over 50 Ghosh Yoga Colleges spread across the world, with 40 centres in Japan. “I know Konishiki for some time and when I requested him to come to Calcutta for the programme, he promptly agreed,” he adds.

Konishiki and Mainoumi will be flown down in special aircraft — Singapore and Thai have an arrangement to make more-than-normal room for these men of action — on November 28. The organising committee — with Sahara India chief Subrata Roy as chairman — have little doubt that the sumo show at Netaji, with a capacity of 12,000, will be a sell-out. So, for Calcuttans denied a place in the stadium, a tour —on a truck (“no car will do”) — of the city streets is being planned.

To turn the programme into a high-power extravaganza, the Ghosh Yoga College will organise a demonstration of yoga skills and stunts by its students, and a song-and-dance with Bollywood stars, before the big men take the stage.

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