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Sumo Association Bans Silicon Head Implants

July 11, 1994 GMT

TOKYO (AP) _ Elevator shoes won’t do it in the barefoot world of sumo wrestling, so some wrestlers have tried to meet the sport’s height requirement by putting lumps of silicon under their scalps.

On Monday, Japan’s Sumo Association said that was no way to get ahead, and banned the implants.

The ruling came soon after published photographs showed sumo aspirant Koji Harada’s box-shaped head topped by a large hairy lump. Reports said the 16- year-old had a 6-inch layer of silicon beneath his scalp, just enough to reach the required height of 5 feet, 8 inches.

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Harada was rejected anyway.

″There have been more than three cases of wrestlers having received silicon implants on their heads,″ said stablemaster Hanaregoma, who is also a vice spokesman for the Sumo Association. ″We have decided to ban further use of implants for health reasons.″

The ban officially begins with the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in September.

Wrestlers with implants who qualified earlier will be allowed to compete, the association said.

That leaves in Mainoumi, a top-ranked competitor who has a 1.6-inch scalp implant.