Japan’s First Arab Sumo Wrestler – Osunaarashi (Abdelrahman Ahmed Shaalan)
Meet Abdelrahman Shaalan, the first Egyptian/Arab/African to compete as a professional sumo wrestler in Japan. He goes by the name Osunaarashi (大砂嵐 – “Great Sandstorm”):
Mongolians have been a dominant force in the top ranks for years, although Shaalan is among the sport’s first Muslim competitors.
As such, the 20-year-old does not touch the deep-fried pork cutlets loved by millions of Japanese or drink vast quantities of beer and rice wine sake, staples of a diet that sumo wrestlers rely on to bulk up.
Muslims avoid pork and alcohol.
But Shaalan, who quit his university accounting degree to enter sumo’s professional ranks, is undeterred, even brushing aside the challenges presented by the holy month of Ramadan when he cannot eat or drink during daylight hours.
Regular sumo tournaments are held in the afternoon.
“I am confident that I can overcome my challenges,” the burly wrestler told Japanese media last month after winning his first two professional-level matches at a tournament in the western city of Osaka.
[hat tip to Curzon]