CARACAS (AFP) - Their body can be a far cry from the distinguished bulk of Japan’s enormous fighters, but athletes like Walter Rivas are beginning to make a name for themselves -- and the noble game of sumo wrestling -- in Venezuela.

Popularizing the traditional jap fight recreation in crisis-wracked Venezuela, of all locations, is an uphill conflict.

right here, a wrestler’s maximum fearsome opponent isn't the only staring them down from throughout the dohyo, or ring, however the usa’s overwhelming financial disaster.


in spite of the conflict, Duglexer Gonzalez says with a feel of satisfaction: "Sumo in Venezuela? Yes. Here in Venezuela, can you believe, we have sumo."

regarded via his sumo moniker of "King Musampa," he became one of the first practitioners of the discipline in the Caribbean usa and now heads the fledgling country wide federation.

"We’re preventing in opposition to taboos and high prices," he stated.

Low-calorie pioneers



The pioneering "rikishi" or fighter, is one of the reasons why sumo is slowly winning reputation in baseball-mad Venezuela, even though nevertheless a ways at the back of famous sports activities like football, basketball and boxing.

"We are not truly fats!" says Musampa, emphatically.

but, their chosen route to wearing immortality is fraught with problems in a country wherein primary ingredients are scarce and hyperinflation means costs can upward push daily.

Walter Rivas laments the reality that like most Venezuelans, he faces a relentless conflict to preserve his weight up.

A current observe discovered 60 percentage of Venezuelans had lost an average eleven kilos in body weight due to the crisis, which has brought about an exodus of almost two million humans when you consider that 2015.

A professional japanese rikishi can weigh as tons as one hundred fifty pounds (330 kilos).

"I fight within the 115 kilo class and i'm usually beneath the weight -- 15 or 20 kilos beneath," Rivas instructed AFP.

Launching his muscular 1 meter seventy four cm (5 toes 8 inch) frame at opponents, and the usage of pace and method to atone for his relative lightness, he became South American champion years ago.

If the hallowed game is bathed in ritual in Japan -- salt is sprinkled at the dohyu earlier than a bout, and rikishi wear their hair in a knot -- it is basically dispensed with here, where increasing calorie intake is the concern.

men competing at a excessive degree need to consume 10,000 calories an afternoon, stated Musampa, quite a feat in Venezuela.

In an ideal global, that could suggest 5 or six meals an afternoon, with three hundred grams of protein in every meal, in addition to fruit and greens.

A female in the top weight division desires between 6,500 and 7,500 energy an afternoon, he said as he watched a schooling session inside the Brigido Iriarte stadium in Caracas.


some thing’s there



Venezuela’s sumo group is supported by using the national sports activities Institute (IND) to cover the nutritional needs of its members before and throughout competitions, however matters get complex whilst there are no upcoming tournaments.

"when there’s an important championship one consumes more calories, extra protein, to be a bit extra up to the weight, but with the situation the way it's far, one has to consume some thing there may be," explained Rivas, who earns a dwelling as a health club teacher inside the western metropolis of Barquisimeto.

nutrients is not the best problem.

Given its cruel loss of resources, Venezuela had to pull out of the remaining South American Championship in September in Sao Paulo, Latin the usa’s combat game mecca.

That meant frustration for the sumo group of six athletes, 3 men and 3 girls. "It hurt us," stated Musampa.

The disaster is hitting Venezuelan sport across the board.

Boxing, volleyball, softball and fencing teams, amongst others, have had to drag out of latest global tournaments. Boxer Yoel Finol -- silver medalist on the Rio Olympics -- couldn’t journey to the recent critical American and Caribbean games, a key practise for the Tokyo Olympics.

"With greater competitive side, we are able to achieve awesome matters," Eukaris Pereira, one of the sumo athletes, informed AFP.


prevailing area

Sumo made its official bow in Venezuela in 2012, with the primary country wide championship within the northern metropolis of Maracay.

"We were the primary generation of sumotoris in Venezuela. We got here to the sport from other disciplines -- wrestling, judo, sambo," said Musampa, who competed with a tattoo of overdue president Hugo Chavez on his left arm.

"nowadays we've got 36 clubs and global elegance athletes like Maria Cedello" -- a medalist at international occasions.

little by little, extra athletes are joining the game.

Rivas, who came to sumo from wrestling, admitted to being intimidated by means of the sport’s trademark groin-girding belt, the mawashi.

"a pal become trying to get me fascinated for a while. However i used to be always cast off by using having to wear the mawashi."