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Public Radio International’s “The World” had a delightful story today on a young Egyptian who looks like he might be a real “contenda” for a sumo wrestling title.

Clark Boyd reports, “His real name is Abdel Rahman Ahmed Shaalan. But in Japan, they call him Osunaarashi, or ‘Great Sandstorm.’

“Shaalan is 21-year-old professional sumo wrestler who hails from Giza in Egypt. After a few years of training at the club level in Egypt, Shaalan left Egypt to try to break into the Japanese professional ranks. …

“Osunaarashi is currently fighting in a tournament in Tokyo, but here’s the thing: He is also a devout Muslim, and this is the holy month of Ramadan. And that means Osunaarashi is fasting.”

The radio report goes on to say that although sumo has always been an intensely tradition-bound sport, the people at the residence where Osunaarashi is living with other wrestlers have made accommodations in deference to his religion. For example, a typical stew that sumo wrestlers are served to bulk them up is chock full of pork, but the chefs now make it with chicken and fish.

More.

Photo: Phlyz/Wiki Commons
Osunaarashi, the Egyptian sumo wrestler, after a Tokyo tournament in May

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