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Earthquake? No, just Sumo champions

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Sumo Champions Exhibition
Brave kids jumped in the ring with giant wrestlers during the Sumo Champions Exhibition in Japantown Saturday. (Godofredo Vasquez/ SFBay)

Was that an earthquake that rumbled through Japantown Saturday afternoon? No, but that’s a darn good guess.

A ton or so worth of Sumo wrestling champions bounded around a Sumo dohyo set up in Japantown’s Peace Plaza this Saturday, thrilling observers of all sizes with a day-long Sumo Champions Exhibition showcasing the ancient Japanese sport.

On the competitive side, three-time World Sumo Champion Byambajav Ulambayar (“Byamba”) prevailed over 430-pound Kelly Gneiting — incidentally, the heaviest man ever to complete a marathon — in a match featuring more than 750 pounds of human being.

On the fun side, kids had the chance to participate in a special session with the wrestlers, to learn the stances and the basics of Sumo wrestling. Some even dared to jump in the ring, giving up 350 pounds or so to the gentle giant wrestlers.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as assistant professor at San Francisco State University.

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