Lady Sumos in the ring today - Bout at 6pm at international trade fair
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- Published 9.02.13
|Sumo wrestlers Sharran Alexander (left) and Amanda Wilcox square off at a news conference on Friday. Picture by UB Photos|
Feb. 8: “I will win,” said a confident Sharran Alexander from London. “Nah...You can’t beat me,” replied Amanda Wilcox from Sheffield.
Well, if you think the tussle between the British Sumo wrestlers is just a gimmick, you are mistaken. The war of words has begun and come tomorrow, the duo will display not just size and strength but also skill and technique, on the sidelines of the 20th International Guwahati Trade Fair.
The big Britons arrived in the city today after a 30-hour-long flight from the UK. This is their maiden visit to Guwahati.
Sharran, the world’s heaviest sportswoman and reigning world heavyweight woman Sumo champion, is pushing 48 though.
“I started a little late, at the age of 40 when I joined the British Sumo team for a television show, only to find a berth in the world championship. It was a chance entry. But I think Sumo wrestling is a great sport. I love competing, winning or losing doesn’t matter,” the mother of three, who is six feet tall and weighs 180kg, said.
In 2006, Sharran said, she beat 25 others to make it to the world Sumo championships in Japan. “That’s when I took the sport seriously,” she said.
About her diet and training, Sharran — a child minder (one who looks after children when parents are outdoors) by profession — said: “I am a foodie, but if you think I consume 10,000 calories a day, then you are wrong. I eat much less than that (5,000 calories) and exercise to keep heart ailments, diabetes and the like, at bay. I have a personal trainer and I put in a few hours everyday for fitness and stamina. I weighed 205kg last year. So I shed 25kg, thanks to my training and diet regimen.”
Size, according to the duo, doesn’t matter.
“You don’t have to be very big to be a Sumo wrestler. Skill and strength matter most. Even though it is a traditional sport from Japan, many wrestlers from other parts as well are doing well. And women, too, have taken up the sport, which is encouraging. In fact, there are many Russian and Ukranian women who are not that big but at the same time very strong and skilful,” said Sharran.
Echoing her counterpart, Amanda — 43 and a mother of two — said: “Skill and stamina count more than size.”
Amanda is four-five inches shorter than Sharran and weighs 128kg. She took up the sport late as well, at age 38. “I took a liking to the sport and decided to take it up. Now, I practise three hours daily. I am a bouncer by profession. But I also make it a point to spend time with my grandson and my daughters,” the big woman with a “heavy Yorkshire” accent, said.
Sharran has been competing for the past six years as the sole member of the British female Sumo wrestling team. “Now, I will take part in the world championship in Germany next month,” the woman of African origin said.
Asked if she ever had problems fitting on plane seats, Sharran was quick to quip: “If you ask me if I encounter problems fitting into economy seats, well, I sit with smaller people.”
The Industries and Trade Fair Association of Assam (ITFAA) in association with the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) is organising the 20th edition of the fair at the Maniram Dewan Trade Centre. That fair began on January 30.
The organisers have extended the fair by two days. “We have extended the fair to February 14. The Sumo duels between the women will be exhibition bouts and will take place in India for the first time. The fights begin tomorrow evening (6pm) and will be held on all the remaining days of the fair,” Rajesh Das, vice-president of ITFAA, said.