A property in Ballyshannon was raided by gardaí on Sunday as part of a major investigation into drug trafficking.The search took place after cocaine and cannabis with an estimated street value of over €900,000 was seized in an earlier raid in Louth.The intelligence led operation associated with the Joint Agency Task Force (JATF) carried out follow-up searches in both Ballyshannon and Leixlip, Co Kildare. A vacuum packing machine and €8,000 in cash was seized in the raids. The cross-county operation began at 1am on Sunday, when personnel attached to the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) intercepted two vehicles simultaneously while travelling in the vicinity of Ardee.Cocaine and Cannabis with an estimated street value in excess of €900,000 (analysis pending) was seized along with an animal transporter truck and a high powered car.Two men aged 41 and 33 and one woman aged 33 years were arrested and are currently detained for questioning at Dundalk and Ashbourne Garda Stations under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996. They can be held for up to seven days.Gardaí swoop on Donegal drugs operation was last modified: December 17th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
Arcata >> Thursday night was ‘Blackout Night’ at Lumberjack Arena, unfortunately for the Humboldt State women’s basketball team, the Sonoma State Seawolves made the plays down the stretch to turn out the lights on the Jacks’ postseason chances.Sonoma State held off a fourth quarter rally to down HSU 62-51, ending Humboldt State’s bid to be the eighth and final team in the upcoming California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament.Entering Thursday’s game, Sonoma State (13-12 overall, 9-10 …
Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games “We have to be ready and we have to prepare hard.”Austria is aware of the challenge they are about to face in seeking the franchise’s second Grand Slam since 1989. He believes that the wheeling and dealing among the teams in the off-season was done with his Beermen in the crosshairs.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“There are so many teams that built up their rosters,” said Austria, whose squad will parade the stocky Wendell McKines for the final conference starting July 19.A dynasty has certainly been established with the Beermen’s Game 6 series-clinching win over TNT KaTropa. It was San Miguel’s 24th title overall and the Beermen’s fifth in the last eight conferences—all under Austria. Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend View comments Castro says TNT’s young players will learn a lot from finals loss LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ MOST READ China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena “Nice that you said that,” Austria said in jest. “[My contract] is expiring at the end of the season.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Coach Leo Austria and Finals MVP Alex Cabagnot celebrate on center court —AUGUST DELA CRUZThe euphoria has certainly died down a bit, and with less than three weeks before the last PBA jewel is put up for grabs, San Miguel Beer will have its work cut out.“It (Grand Slam) is in the minds of so many people,” coach Leo Austria said on Sunday night after the Beermen lined themselves up for a shot at a Triple Crown sweep, just the sixth in the pro league’s 42-year history.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. What ‘missteps’?
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say West Ham to offer Carroll to Newcastle for Shelveyby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham striker Andy Carroll is being linked with a return to Newcastle United.The Daily Express says Carroll’s agent is in talks over a return to Newcastle.The move would see Jonjo Shelvey transfer to West Ham in a swap.The Hammers are reportedly trying to offload the striker before his contract expires in the summer while Shelvey has fallen down the pecking order under Rafa Benitez.
About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say AC Milan coach Gattuso: No reason to feel intimidated facing Juventusby Carlos Volcano9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAC Milan coach Rino Gattuso insists there’s no reason to feel intimidated facing Juventus in the Supercoppa.The match is being held in Saudi Arabia.Gattuso said, “I felt the tension more as a player than a Coach. It’s completely different. We are up against a side that has been dominant in Italy and Europe for eight years, they know how to play for trophies, but it’s important for us to be here and feel this experience too.“We’ve got to play our game with a relaxed approach, because the strongest team doesn’t always win in a one-off match. We want to see a great performance to beat Juve tomorrow, we’re well aware of that.“I am a man who often follows his instinct and for the last five years in this profession my focus has been on being as credible as possible in the eyes of my players. I say with great honesty, I am not thinking of myself, but what this game can represent for my players.“I want to help them realise we can do it, we can raise the bar and push through the limits. I don’t want to see us panic or fall apart at the first error. I don’t want to see a repeat of Olympiacos, a game we had in our grasp and threw it away. At the first error, we lose all our confidence. It has been happening to Milan for a long time, even before I got here, and I want to see this team maintain its courage.”
Wenger has Arsenal warning for Emeryby Paul Vegas16 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsene Wenger has told his successor Unai Emery that he has a responsibility to play attractive football as Arsenal manager.Speaking to Goal on Monday night, Wenger has some words to say about the current Arsenal side and Emery.“I’m not here to judge coaches, I am a supporter of Arsenal Football Club so I just support [Unai Emery],” the unemployed 69-year-old said.“I hope that he can win the games and plays a type of game that I like.“I think a club like Arsenal is a huge responsibility and one of the responsibilities is to play attractive football.“After that, I think the most important thing is to support the team, the club and win games.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Hakuho and fellow sumo wrestlers train. Tim Foley Snatch Hakuho from his peak, shove him into your DeLorean and send him into any point in the past — including the 1790s — and he will almost certainly be a favorite to stay in the ring, on his feet, against any human or human-like god-giant that he runs into. We know this.But considering his unprecedented domination of his competition, his broad skill set and, yes, even his controversial willingness to push boundaries in pursuit of victory, he can likely match any sumotori legend for legend as well. The shikiri (pre-match ritual) takes several minutes. The wrestlers clap to attract the attention of the gods, lift their hands to show they are unarmed, stomp the ground to scare away demons and throw salt in the ring to purify it. They repeatedly crouch as if about to start the match and then stand up after a few moments of glaring at each other. When they are finally ready, they creep toward their starting stance.There is no bell. The match starts with a tachi-ai (initial charge), which generally happens the instant the opponents are set.Harumafuji lunged from his crouch, low, exploding toward Hakuho in an effort to take control of the bout early. Instead, he caught a quick palm to the face — and then air. His momentum carried him clear out of the other side of the ring, like he’d tried to bull-rush a ghost.The match had lasted one second.Kisenosato scowled and walked out of the ring area. Commentators didn’t quite know what to say; one of the English announcers let out a long “hmmmmm.” The crowd booed its champion.This is not normally how a match of this scale plays out. Side-stepping an opponent’s charge is legal but considered beneath the dignity of top sumotori. The move is known derisively as a henka (変化), which translates to “change” or “changing,” while connoting the root “strange” (変). That it would be used by an all-time great in one of the most consequential matches of his career was strange indeed.With all Hakuho has accomplished, his greatness is unquestionable, but his legacy is an enigma. It is already beyond being measured by wins and losses, or even by yusho (tournament wins) or sansho (special prizes), so incidents like this now take on particular importance. But judging him by heel turns would be reductive. The best way to measure Hakuho’s legacy is to pit it against legend.Enter thunder and lightning. The final match of the 2016 Haru Basho — one of six professional sumo tournaments held each year — was a day-15 championship-deciding showdown between the sport’s top yokozuna.1Yokozuna, 横綱 (literal: “horizontal rope”), means “grand champion.” Named after the decorative rope that yokozuna wear during their ring-entering ceremony. Officially recognized as the highest rank in 1909. Hakuho, the White Peng,2Hakuho (白鵬) translates literally to “White Peng.” Peng is a mythological Chinese bird described in Zhuangzi as being so large that “his wings are like clouds draped across the heavens.” the dominant force in sumo over the past decade, was 13-1 in the tournament and hadn’t lost since his opening match.If he could beat rival Harumafuji — himself a winner of seven Grand Tournament championships — Hakuho would win a record 36th Emperor’s Cup, about the equivalent of a 24th major in tennis or golf.3Since 1926, the winner of each honbasho (official tournament) has received the Emperor’s Cup. There have been six honbasho per year since 1958. If he lost, he would have to wrestle again (almost immediately) in a tiebreaker against 13-2 ozeki4Ozeki, 大関 (literal: “great barrier”), means “champion” and is presently the highest rank besides yokozuna. (Before 1909, yokozona was a ceremonial title and ozeki was the highest rank.) Kisenosato, who was waiting ringside. Tegata are collectible autographs featuring a wrestler’s name and handprint. The one on the left is allegedly Raiden’s; on the right is Hakuho’s. These are not necessarily to scale. Raiden’s hands are said to have been 9.4 inches from palm to tip. Fish scales of greatnessThere is perhaps no more intricate ritual among sports fans than debating the relative merits of greats across eras.Over time, athletes get stronger, faster and better-trained, and benefit from accumulated institutional knowledge. NFL kickers, for example, have been getting better at a nearly constant rate for 80-plus years. So we have meta-debates about whether athletes should get more credit for dominating the competition in an earlier, top-heavy era or for excelling in a mature sport with a broader talent pool. For example, who’s the more impressive outlier, Dan Marino or Peyton Manning?If we want to imagine athletes from different times competing, do we assume they would have enjoyed all the advantages and disadvantages of the comparison era, or do we focus on strict time-traveling scenarios? And, crucially, in time-traveling scenarios, are you bringing present-day athletes into the past, or are you snatching past legends and bringing them to the present?From what we know about his career, Raiden won more often than Hakuho on a bout-by-bout basis. Yet though Raiden’s career was longer in years, it was short on matches. Here’s every Makuuchi division sumo career for comparison: Raiden, on the other hand, was well above average in height, weight and BMI. At 6-foot-6, he was just about 6 inches taller than his typical opponent, and his 373-pound weight gave him an 80-pound advantage. But there’s an important factor here: Relatively speaking, Raiden isn’t that much bigger than Hakuho. Raiden was about an inch and a half taller and 25 to 35 pounds heavier. Hakuho, by virtue of being less massive than many opponents, is especially strong and/or skilled for his size. In other words, because of the size difference across eras, Hakuho has the advantages of a smaller, more agile fighter without the disadvantage of being that much smaller than Raiden.Note that this is a minor variation from the standard “people get better over time” argument, because it applies relative to their era. It’s not only that Hakuho has been as dominant as he has been in a likely tougher era, but also that his dominance is a product of qualities (strength/speed/skill) that also would be likely to advantage him against Raiden. Tournaments grew in size, length and quantity throughout the 1900s, and in 1958, sumo adopted the current structure of six grand tournaments per year (one every two months), with 15 matches each. Both Raiden and Hakuho are clearly the top wrestlers in their given eras, but how good are they relative to how good we expect top wrestlers in their eras to be?For this chart, I’ve plotted historical win percentages for wrestlers ranked ozeki or higher, with the number of years they competed at those ranks represented by bubble sizes: Raiden’s career — like Hakuho’s — didn’t pass without controversy. It’s said that on account of Raiden’s dominance, some of his favored techniques were at least temporarily banned from the sport. And for reasons that appear to be lost to history, he was never awarded the title yokozuna. The Yokozuna Stone at the Tomioka Hachiman Shrine — home of the first professional sumo tournament — has the names of every yokozuna inscribed on it, plus one: the “peerless rikishi”6Rikishi, 力士 (literal: “powerful man”), means professional sumo wrestler. Raiden.This is the burden of Hakuho’s dominance: He is no longer competing with his peers; he’s competing with the peerless. The highest-ranked sumo wrestlers like Hakuho wear the yokozuna rope during dohyo-iri (the ring-entering ceremony). Tim Foley Hakuho — born Monkhbatyn Davaajargal and given the shikona Hakuho Sho — is the son of a six-time Mongolian wrestling champion and Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling. Despite his pedigree, Hakuho was an undersized sumo prospect — weighing only 137 pounds when he started training at age 15 — and almost went unrecruited. Although he would eventually reach 6-foot-4 and competes at around 330-340 pounds today, he is lighter and thinner than the majority of his opponents. Taller, heavier wrestlers win (a little) more often — hence sumo wrestlers tend to be, well, big. But the relationship between size and success isn’t nearly as strong as you might think, and it gets weaker if you control for division and era.7In a regression to win percentage per tournament using height and body mass index (we use BMI instead of weight because height and weight are highly correlated) as variables, the r-squared produced is around .05 (meaning, roughly, that about 5 percent of the variance in tournament results can be explained by the height and weight of each wrestler alone), which, again, weakens as you control for division and era. However, the sample sizes are large enough to pick up meaningful trends.For this chart, I’ve compared the relative importance of height and weight for predicting top-division wrestlers’ win-loss rate in a given tournament. Values above 2 are roughly “significant” for a given five-year period.8I ran regressions for each year over a rolling five-year period and recorded the t-value (strength of stat divided by standard error) for “height” and “BMI.” Also, each bubble is colored to show how many “wins above replacement ozeki” (WAROZ) each wrestler would be expected to win over the course of their career, based on their win percentage relative to their era and projecting as if they’d wrestled 90 bouts per year as healthy wrestlers do today. By this metric, Hakuho leads all with 182 WAROZ (and counting), with second-place going to Tachiyama (who had 115 wins and eight ties in 128 bouts between 1909 and 1918) at 175. Raiden finishes eighth with 143 WAROZ.Here we can see that top ozeki winning a huge percentage of their matches seems to have been almost expected hundreds of years ago. This is consistent with a number of things we know about sumo tournaments back then: With less focus on “winning,” they were a bit more like exhibitions. And we know that opponents were sometimes literally picked out of the crowd.11This is how Raiden’s mentor, Tanikaze, got his start. Hakuho, however, competes in an environment in which losses for top-level wrestlers are considerably more common than they were in Raiden’s time, but he has maintained an extremely high win percentage nonetheless.Behold the henkaYokozuna face a lot of pressure to retire the instant they start to decline. It’s considered dishonorable to hold the rank of yokozuna and not be among the best in the sport.12When a maegashira (the fifth-highest rank in sumo) beats a yokozuna, it is called a kinboshi (“gold star”) and earns the maegashira a special bonus payment — which they receive every tournament for the rest of their career. So a yokozuna sticking around past their prime is literally costly to the sumo association. So although we’ve made the argument that Hakuho might have an advantage over Raiden in both prowess and résumé, recent events raise a third, more fraught point of comparison: legacy.After Hakuho’s win by henka at the Haru basho, Mark Buckton of The Japan Times — a former amateur sumo wrestler who has covered professional sumo for 18 years — called for the White Peng’s exit. Addressing Hakuho directly, he writes:At its lowest ebb, following the hazing death of Tokitaizan and former yokozuna Asashoryu feigning injury the only yokozuna worth his salt in both performances on the dohyo and behavior off it was yourself.True, you are still the best there is in a mawashi.And that is how you should be remembered.Not as a man who resorts to a final day henka against a fellow yokozuna, on his way to yusho No. 36.Go now and you go in true Japanese fashion, falling on your sword for that Day 15 performance so unworthy of your name.In a phone interview, Buckton said that he thought Hakuho’s henka was disgraceful and that he was confident most Japanese sumo fans felt the same way. He said he believes the move was akin to an act of desperation — Hakuho sees his skills slipping and is resorting to dirty tactics in a last-ditch effort to stay on top of a sport that isn’t merely competitive exhibition but has its roots as a martial art in Shinto.That’s fair enough. But for cold-blooded empiricists obsessed with win-maximization, this may all seem strange. If henka aren’t banned, not using them is just bad game theory, right?Unfortunately, henka are hard to analyze with data. They aren’t considered a winning move themselves, and only winning moves are recorded. Hakuho’s win was scored as a tsukiotoshi (“thrust down”). What even constitutes a henka is not clear-cut — particularly in instances in which they fail.However, what little evidence we have suggests that they work. Lon Howard of Sumo Fan Magazine attempted to crowd-source some henka data by having readers nominate matches that contained possible henka and then asking the readership to vote on whether they actually were. Overall, the possible henka led to victory 63 percent of the time; among a subset of moves that voters were certain were henka,13Attempts with agreement and 10 or more votes. that figure rises to 92 percent.Although that data isn’t conclusive, it makes sense. If you’re playing rock-paper-scissors and your opponent does nothing but throw rock for 250 years, throwing paper may be very effective.Stigma-based policing of the sport’s standards is defensible. Normalizing the henka might fundamentally change the sport’s dynamics too much, but outlawing it may create a havoc of gray areas. But such a defense should anticipate that sternly discouraging the move may not prevent its selective employment by a wily rikishi with a New England Patriots-style commitment to winning.In a tear-soaked post-match interview, Hakuho appeared to express regret for the tournament ending the way it did. But he did not clarify his side-step’s strategic underpinnings, such as whether it was planned, or a response to something he saw while the wrestlers were getting set, or a reflexive reaction to Harumafuji’s charge itself.But regardless of premeditation, consider the story told on the faces of the competitors: A quarter-millennium of Sumo evolutionHakuho vs. Raiden isn’t a story of a sport that has stayed the same for hundreds of years, allowing us to make clean, crisp comparisons between the two champions. But it isn’t a story of a sport changing every couple of years either.Although there have been significant structural changes — like the setting of tournaments at 15 matches long, the introduction of tiebreakers, and the treatment of yokozuna as an official rather than ceremonial rank — the sport is always fundamentally about knocking the other guy down or getting him to step out of the ring first. Many trends happen over decades or centuries, caused by whims of history that can be hard to pick up in a data set.But some simple metrics — like wrestler height and weight — can tell a pretty interesting story. And to understand how Raiden and Hakuho match up with each other, it helps to understand how they compare physically to their eras. Raiden Tameemon. Explore 250 years of sumo data Hakuho trains in 2014. See more: A History Of Sumo, an interactive graphic by FiveThirtyEight showing centuries of sumo wrestlers, and The Sea of Crises, a 2014 Grantland article on sumo and Japanese culture.CORRECTION (May 13, 5:30 p.m.): An earlier version of this article included a photograph that was incorrectly described as portraying Hakuho. It has been replaced with the correct photo. Hakuho and Harumafuji one second after the start of their bout in March. Kyodo The growing international talent poolIf a hypothetical tale of the tape across a couple of centuries is a little too abstract for you, consider that the dramatic shift in the balance of power in sumo’s demographics that has been taking place of late also has implications for our matchup.Before 1972, no non-Japanese wrestler had ever won a basho. The first was Takamiyama, a Hawaiian sekiwake (the third rank, behind yokozuna and ozeki) who otherwise had a relatively undistinguished career as a sumotori. But he then founded the Azumazeki stable — one of the regimented groups of wrestlers who live and train together and to which all active rikishi belong. There he recruited and trained Chad Rowan — a former high school basketball all-star from Hawaii — who took the shikona Akebono, became the first non-Japanese yokozuna and won 11 Emperor’s Cups.Today, international wrestlers have taken over the sport. In January 2016, then-31-year-old Japanese ozeki Kotoshogiku won his first tournament. This might have been an unremarkable event, except that it was the first tournament won by any Japanese wrestler since January of 2006. Of the 58 tournaments in between, 56 were won by Mongolians; the other two were won by a Bulgarian (Kotooshu) and an Estonian (Baruto).Here’s how this has played out since 1970: Note that Japan’s share of champions will improve by at least a tick in 2016, while Mongolia’s will decline, after the country’s three-year stretch of winning all the tournaments.Mongolia has had all this success with only a small fraction of the sport’s wrestlers — around a quarter of those in the top (Makuuchi) division and less than 5 percent of those who compete overall. This likely is because the Nihon Sumo Kyokai (the sport’s governing body) limits each stable to one non-Japanese wrestler, so the standards for foreign prospects are extremely high.This carries some likely implications:Most obviously, the non-Japanese pool of sumo talent is likely growing faster than the number of slots for non-Japanese talent. This probably advantages Hakuho’s strength of competition in our matchup because it implies that he could be the best of a much bigger talent pool than sumo wrestlers of the past. It also implies that while the non-Japanese wrestlers make the talent pool stronger than it was, limited roster slots for them keep it weaker than it could be.On the other hand, the sumo talent from Japan may be declining. Sumo requires major physical (putting on weight) and time (years of non-stop training) commitments. Sumotori lead rigid and structured lifestyles year-round, the potential for fame and fortune isn’t that great, and Japan has an advanced economy that may afford better opportunities to athletic Japanese youth.But even a relatively weak Japan today could be stronger than a relatively strong Japan more than 200 years ago. The population of Japan is now about five times the size of what it was when Raiden was active, making the pool of potential sumotori that much richer.10Moreover, the talent pool back then may have been even smaller relative to today’s than the population numbers suggest, as the vast majority of sumo wrestlers used to come from just the Hokkaido prefecture. This painting of sumo wrestlers by Utagawa Kuniteru II, shown in full on the lower right, is from 1867. In the closeup views at left and top right, Raiden, who is without a yokozuna rope, is pictured among several of the top-ranked wrestlers. The basic style and structure of banzuke have gone unchanged for hundreds of years. The one on the left, from 1796, lists Raiden as the top-ranked ozeki in the West division. On the right is a banzuke from 2012 that lists Hakuho as the top-ranked yokozuna in the East. The average height of sumo wrestlers appears to have declined between the mid-1700s and late 1800s but has been rising fairly steadily since.9Yes, according to the data, there was a wrestler in the late 1700s who was (allegedly) 7-foot-4. He was an ozeki named Shakagatake and had several (winning) appearances in the 1770s before dying at age 26. There is art depicting him as a giant.In the latter half of the 20th century, this upward trend has been aided by the arrival of non-Japanese wrestlers, who have tended to be tall. Note the non-red dots on the charts; they tend to be well above the overall trend.For BMI, we see a similar rise for all rikishi, but with a clear divergence between the tall and heavy Americans and the tall but relatively slender Mongolians.The American (green) wrestlers, all from Hawaii and of Pacific island ancestry, have tended to be huge — both tall and hefty for their height — and had a pretty good run for a while between 1989 and 2002. Konishiki won a few tournaments and then yokozuna Akebono and Musashimaru solidly contended for top honors (becoming the first two non-Japanese yokozuna in the process).But the Mongolians — who have had four yokozuna — tend to be less hefty than their Japanese counterparts, defying the trend of the past 50 years.Compared with the other top-level sumo wrestlers who have been active during his career, Hakuho, at 6 foot 4, is about 3 inches taller than average, but his top tournament weight (in our data) of 340 pounds is 5 pounds lighter than average (putting his BMI well below par). Before Hakuho (born in 1985), before Taiho (born in 1940), before Hitachiyama (born in 1874), before Jinmaku (born in 1829), before the United States of America (born in 1776), there was Raiden.A legend of Japan’s Edo period, Raiden set a standard for greatness in the sport that would last hundreds of years. With centuries separating the two legends’ careers, Raiden vs. Hakuho may be one of the most time-bending sports comparisons imaginable.Fortunately, we have data.The visual history of sumoAs far back as the 18th century, a banzuke listing each wrestler’s rank in the hierarchy of professional sumo has been made before each honbasho (official tournament), often with elaborate detail. Some have visual guides to the various wrestlers and act as a kind of program to the events; others resemble intricate box scores. These collectibles have preserved vital information about which wrestlers were involved in each tournament, including their shikona (ring names), ranks (seedings) and hometowns.Banzuke are the backbone of sumo stats-keeping; other information such as tournament and match results that are gathered from historical newspapers or books all tie back to them. Alexander Nitschke (a German sports data nerd) has a website called Sumo Reference where he has combined banzuke information with other sources of tournament data — including by hand-parsing thousands of lower-division match results for years — to make the most comprehensive sumo data set on the internet. It includes tournament results for most contestants going back to 1761 and individual match results for bouts back to mid-1909. He has let us use that database for this article.Below is a chart that outlines the entire recorded history of Makuuchi division (top-level) professional sumo, from the 1761 Fuyu (winter) Basho through the now-infamous 2016 Haru (spring) Basho. Before around 1900, height and weight had a fairly tenuous relationship with winning. It has gotten stronger in the past century, but size advantages have never been much of a guarantee of success. For a modern example: In the 1980s and 90s, Konishiki — an ozeki who topped 600 pounds — often faced off against Wakanohana, a future yokozuna who was an inch or so shorter and more than 300 pounds lighter. Konishiki went 2-8 against him.Sumo styles can broadly be broken down into two types: Oshi-sumo, or “thrusting” style, and Yotsu-sumo, or “grappling” style. The former is about brute force and pushing your opponent out of the ring; the latter is more about forcing your opponent to the ground or using their momentum against them.As one might expect because of their sizes, Raiden preferred the Oshi-sumo style, and Hakuho the Yotsu. The trade-off for height and weight is pretty basic: Being big makes a wrestler harder to move, but less agile; being small can make it easier for a wrestler to maneuver but leaves him vulnerable.In the 20th century, there appears to have been a period in which larger-than-average wrestlers were more successful than they had been in the past (or are today), at a time in which the average wrestler was growing larger than ever.In this chart, I’ve plotted the height and BMI for each of the top-division wrestlers for each tournament, colored by country of origin: Hakuho has won 36 grand tournaments, more than any other professional sumo wrestler in history. TIM FOLEY Although the discipline of sumo wrestling may have existed in various forms for well over a millennium, it isn’t the sport stuck in time that it is sometimes made out to be. It has experienced controversy throughout its history. In the 17th century, the unseemly practice of samurai wrestling each other for money was banned, only to be brought back with official sanction and standardized rules.The first known professional tournament was held in 1684, and the first sumo organizations began issuing written rankings in the mid-1700s — just in time to document the rise of sumo’s most legendary figure.Raiden was born Seki Tarokichi in 1767 — about 100 years before the Edo period ended — and competed under the shikona of Raiden Tameemon. Raiden is a combination of “thunder” (雷) and “lightning” (電) and translates roughly to “thunderbolt.” Mentored by the first non-posthumous yokozuna, Tanikaze, Raiden was a legend trained by a legend. He went undefeated in 24 out of the 35 tournaments he entered, and despite a much shorter tournament structure that had no method for breaking ties, Raiden finished with the most wins outright in 17 tournaments and tied for the most wins in 11 more. As there were no official tournament winners until 1909, none of these are considered official “yusho” or tournament wins, but no one would top 28 tournaments (officially or unofficially) for more than 150 years.The Thunderbolt was an absolute monster among men — 6-foot-6 and 373 pounds — large enough to physically overpower opponents of the day. His top-division win-loss record of 254-10 (96 percent) is easily the best in recorded sumo history.5If you adjust for draws, which have essentially vanished from the sport these days, Raiden’s effective win percentage drops to 93. But the gap between him and his closest competition grows, with no other wrestlers reaching 90 percent. Hakuho has won 85 percent of his upper-division matches, leading modern-era wrestlers.
Source: ESPN 2010-1151.36 SEASONSHARE OF REBOUNDSRANK 2013-1452.21 2011-1251.45 2012-1351.85 When Oklahoma City added Paul George and Carmelo Anthony this offseason, there was speculation about whether the two would diminish the brilliance of Russell Westbrook. Three games into the season, Westbrook appears unfazed, already hinting at another triple-double season. However, the George and Anthony moves do seem to have had an effect on another piece of the team’s core identity: For the first time in a decade, the Thunder are struggling to rebound.The Thunder have grabbed just 47.5 percent of available rebounds in their first three games — about 6 percentage points lower than last year and 24th in the league. As a team, the Thunder haven’t finished outside the top 10 since they moved to Oklahoma City. 2016-1753.41 2014-1552.62 2017-1847.5%24 2015-1654.71 2009-1051.76 The Thunder’s rebounding is off this yearRebound rate for Oklahoma City, through Oct. 24, 2017 2008-0950.87 Three games aren’t a lot to go on. There’s all manner of small sample size nonsense around the league that isn’t likely to hold up: Kevin Durant is not going to average four blocks a game, and the Cavaliers won’t field a lineup that is outscored by 100 points per 100 possessions (uh, probably). But with the Thunder’s rebounding, there’s reason to suspect these early struggles on the glass may signal an underlying change in the team.For years the Thunder had more rebounding than it knew what to do with, and rebounding, unlike shooting, carries steep diminishing returns. This made the team’s allocation of skills unusually lopsided, even as it shed a lot of rebounding in the past two offseasons. The summer of 2016 saw the departure of Durant — one of the best rebounding small forwards in the league — as well as Serge Ibaka, who was traded to Orlando, but the Thunder still managed to finish first in rebounding last season.This offseason, Enes Kanter, who is virtually unplayable on the defensive end but one of the best rebounders in the league, went to New York in the trade for Anthony. Domantas Sabonis, whose draft rights were acquired in the Ibaka trade, was a throw-in to the deal for George with Indiana. The trades have forced the Thunder to play almost exclusively small, with Patrick Patterson slowly working his way into the rotation after offseason knee surgery and looking very rough in the minutes he’s seen. The team has undeniably added talent with George and Anthony, but it has also traded big-for-small — and may have weakened its bedrock identity in the process.Through three games, Anthony has more made 3-pointers (7) than he does rebounds (6) as the starting power forward. George has fared better on the glass, but his 8.9 total rebound rate would still be a career low. The proposition was that Anthony and George both rebound well for their positions, and Westbrook is one of the best rebounding guards of all time. But with the small-ball starting lineup being badly outrebounded, it’s an open question just how valuable that out-of-position rebounding really is.Westbrook took a lot of flak a season ago for piling up empty rebounds — “deferred” rebounds, in the nerd parlance — that saw his big men box out so he could collect the board and rip up the court. The NBA hasn’t begun publishing player tracking stats yet this season, so we don’t have a breakdown on how many of Westbrook’s rebounds have been contested, but it’s going to be something to keep an eye on. Rebounding is essentially a team stat, but if Russ can collect 9.3 rebounds per game with a 15.7 rebound rate from the point guard position and his team still doesn’t win out on the glass, it calls the value of those boards into question. Either Westbrook’s rebounds are a little less valuable than we believed or the Thunder’s new-look roster has rebounded so poorly that Westbrook’s outsized contribution doesn’t matter. (Or, you know, it’s one week and three games and we need to settle down.)So far, the rebounding dropoff has cost the Thunder a little more than 4 points per game in second-chance points compared with last season. (They’re at -1.7 in net second-chance points, down from +2.6 in 2016-17.) This is a very noisy way to look at rebounding, but it’s also the most material way. OKC was outrebounded 58-45 against the Timberwolves on Sunday night in a game it ultimately lost on a buzzer-beater. That’s not the sort of game Oklahoma City is accustomed to dropping. But if the Thunder keep boarding like they have early on, they may have to get used to it.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams (7) catches a touchdown pass from quarterback Deshaun Watson against North Carolina State at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C., on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. Credit: Courtesy of TNSSCOTTSDALE, Ariz — Ohio State redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett versus Clemson junior quarterback Deshaun Watson is without question the main card in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31. But one of the primary matchups is OSU’s surprisingly dominant secondary against Clemson’s star-studded receiving corps.When Clemson lost the national championship game to Alabama last season, 45-40, the Tigers were without wide receivers Deon Cain and Mike Williams. This time around, the two are healthy and have been nightmares for defenses all season. Williams has caught 84 passes and gained 1,171 yards with 10 touchdowns. Cain has 32 catches for 621 yards and nine touchdowns.The maturity of both Williams and Cain has made the difference in Clemson coach Dabo Swinney’s mind. He said that Williams and Cain are in the midst of their most productive season with the Tigers.It’s been great for (Deon Cain) to have Mike (Williams) there. It’s been great for Mike to have a guy like Deon there,” Swinney said. “For us to be able to roll those two guys in and out, it’s been a tremendous amount of production. If you just look at the production at that position and the amount of touchdowns, they’ve been a heck of a combination.”OSU’s secondary has statistically been one of the best in man coverage situations. Aside from the 19 interceptions and seven touchdowns off interceptions, cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley have excelled at defending the pass when put on an island. The Buckeyes rank fifth in the country with just 164.5 yards passing allowed per game.At safety, redshirt sophomore Malik Hooker and junior Damon Webb have been OSU’s security blanket. The two are responsible for seven of the team’s 19 interceptions and four of the seven pick-sixes — Hooker with six and three, respectively. OSU is second in the nation in yards allowed per passing attempt at 5.4.“They’re a great group,” Williams said. “They have guys that attack the ball in the air like receivers. They have hands like receivers. That’s probably one of the biggest differences.”Tigers’ tight end Jordan Leggett, who is third on the team with seven receiving touchdowns, said that OSU’s man coverage is challenging, but having four or five guys that have to be accounted for in the passing game gives the upper hand to Clemson in his eyes.“You just can’t leave (Williams) on an island with one of your corners because he’s going to win that matchup nine times out of 10,” Leggett said. “It’s just a matter of how (OSU) wants to play us. Whatever they do, they’re leaving someone else on an island with someone else. And any of our guys that we have here, they’re going to win that matchup no matter what.”Cain said that the receiving corps that has five guys with 30-plus receptions — Hunter Renfrow with 29 — has had so much success due to the play of Watson and the Clemson offensive line. The Clemson receiving corps has been able to win one-on-one matchups all season. The same can be said about OSU’s secondary. On Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, the two teams’ strengths, like they have all season, could define whose season ends and whose continues.“We have a lot of good, talented guys in our receiving corps and they have a lot of good DBs that can match up with us,” Cain said. “It comes down to who wants to win and who makes the best competitive plays. That’s what this game is going to be.”
Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson has heaped praises on Pablo Hernandez following the team’s victory over Queens Park Rangers.Marcelo Bielsa’s men picked up a 2-1 win over QPR in the Sky Bet Championship yesterday courtesy of a brace from Kemar Roofe, earning three more points in the quest for promotion as the win takes Leeds up to second in the table.Jansson took to his official Twitter account to lavish praise on his Hernandez for his performance.My man, best player i ever played with and it’s a true honour to have you in my team! On to the next one now! See you Saturday! 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/idHsPxYFN0— Pontus Jansson (@PJansson5) December 8, 2018Solskjaer reveals he plans to build his team around Pogba Manuel R. Medina – July 17, 2019 The Manchester United manager wants to end the speculation that the Frenchman is leaving the Red Devils.The former Valencia winger was in impressive form and played an important role in Leeds’ win yesterday.Jansson mentioned in his tweet that Hernandez is the best player he has ever played with and it was a privilege for him to be on the same team as the Spaniard.His tweet read: “My man, best player I ever played with and it’s a true honour to have you in my team! On to the next one now! See you on Saturday!”Hernandez has enjoyed a good time with Leeds United ever since signing for the club and he will be delighted with the praises from his teammates.The winger will be important to Leed’s promotion bid this season and manager Marcelo Bielsa will be hoping that he can continue in this rich vein of form in the coming weeks as well.