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Thursday, 16th October 2008
In Sports,

Pilot shows there's life after sumo

A former sumo wrestler has shown there is life outside the ring by becoming a commercial airline pilot.

Throughout his adolescence, Hayato Baba dreamt of becoming a successful sumo wrestler, reports the Japan Times.

Whereas many ex-wrestlers end up working in restaurants preparing the traditional sumo fare of boiled fish, meat and vegetable stew, Mr Baba took to the skies when his short career came to an end.

On leaving the Onomatsu stable in 2000, he went to the US and obtained a pilot's license before returning to Japan to make a new career for himself.

"A sumo wrestler should never make the excuse that he is just a junior high school graduate or he has only been a wrestler," he commented.

Sadao Yoshino, president of a company keen to enlist the services of ex-sumo wrestlers, said the athletes "maintain stronger awareness than those in other sports".

The reputation of sumo wrestling in Japan has been in the spotlight recently due to several drug-related scandals.

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