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Women now competing in sumo wrestling (Women’s Sumo Video)

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OSAKA, Japan – Women’s sumo wrestling is taking off around Europe.

It was when the International Olympic Committee declared in 1994 that single-sex sports could no longer qualify as candidates for the Olympic Games, when Japan’s ancient national was ready to make a change.

Since then, sumo wrestling has both men and women competing internationally.

Stephen Gadd, the general secretary of the European Sumo Union lobbied for the inclusion and is pleased to see women in the sport.

“We held the very first women’s sumo tournament with the European Championships in 1996,” he said. “After that, it really took off in Europe.”

As for the battle to make it into the Olympics, Gadd says the best chance is if Japan hosts the 2020 games.

“Getting into the Olympics will give sumo the push it needs to become a major international sport,” he said.

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