Wrestlers Go Great Lengths To Qualify

The Japan Sumo Association has decided that, because of health fears, it no longer will accept aspirant wrestlers who artificially boost their height with silicone implants.

An association spokeswoman said the action was prompted by a case in which Takeji Harada, 16, underwent four such implants over 12 months and "grew" 6 inches to 5 feet 8, the minimum height requirement to enter the ancient sport.

This is not the only ruse young sumo fanatics have used to get accepted. Several years ago, one young man finally made the grade after repeatedly banging his head against a wall so that the bump gave him extra height.


A British betting firm said a man lost 121,000 pounds ($186,000) by backing Mexico to beat Bulgaria in Tuesday's World Cup match won by Bulgaria.

Bookmakers William Hill said the man would have won 255,000 pounds ($393,700) if Mexico had won.

"When you bet that amount of money, you tend to be philosophical about losing, rather than upset," said Graham Sharpe, a William Hill spokesman. "We expect to hear from him again soon."

Sharpe said it was the biggest loss on a soccer bet that he could remember.


Britain's Sir Alf Ramsey once was approached by an El Salvador soccer coach, who asked how he should get his team ready for the World Cup.

"You arrange 11 garbage cans around the field and dribble through them endlessly," Ramsey said. Later, he checked back to see how the El Salvador team was doing.

"Not so good," the coach said. "The garbage cans are ahead, two to nil."


Heard of those football and baseball rotisserie leagues? How about a rotisserie bass-fishing league, suggests Karl Licis of the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph.

"Any pro can throw a spinnerbait, but can he pitch a big-league Jig'N'Pig?" Licis writes. "And how will he do in murky water? In the heat of summer?"


What team was the deepest ever at shortstop? Consider the Norfolk, Va., Naval Training Station team during World War II. Phil Rizzuto was the starter and Pee Wee Reese the reserve.


Many professional athletes, when they leave a team, rant and rave about how much they were underappreciated at their last stay, but not Tony Casillas, writes Mal Florence of the Los Angeles Times.

Casillas, a Dallas Cowboy defensive tackle who jumped to the Kansas City Chiefs as a free agent, rented two billboards on major Dallas freeways with this message: "Thanks for three great years. I'll miss you, Dallas."


-- Shortstop Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox, on his strategy when facing Seattle pitcher Randy Johnson: "Hopefully, you don't get hurt."

-- Pitcher Salomon Torres, San Francisco Giants: "I've only tried to hit a guy once in my career, in the minors, and I missed. I'm not good at it."

-- Mike Barnicle, Boston Globe, on the World Cup: "Only rarely does anyone score in soccer. This means it's like watching Billy Joel in a dating bar without his wallet."

Compiled by Chuck Ashmun, Seattle Times