Sumo wrestling to be demonstrated at Martial Arts fest

HANDS up who's heard of the sumo wrestling pro tour in Australia? If so, you're part of a growing band of devotees.

The Australian Sumo Federation was set up in 1992 but is still, relatively, a new sport for Sydney with the pro tour only starting in 2009.

Veteran competitor, John Traill, was one of the original sumo members in Sydney and remembers the early days when a small group of 10 practised at the Castle Hill Showground.

"We used to be based at the showground's Horticultural Pavilion until we moved to the North Sydney PCYC," Mr Traill said.

Ten years since the move, Mr Traill returns to his old stamping ground for next week's Sydney Martial Arts and Cultural Festival in Castle Hill.

Sumo wrestling will be one of several sports showcased at the festival and Mr Traill is hoping the publicity will add new faces to the federation's 50 current members.

"There's a big emphasis on size and speed in sumo wrestling," Mr Traill said.

"Men and women who are naturally big can put their size to good use and be competitive in this sport."

One sumo seeking success on the world stage is Mr Traill's 202kg club teammate Jason Mareko.

The 29-year-old from Blacktown was a strong contender in the 115kg-plus open category at the Australian National Sumo Championships on the Gold Coast last weekend.

Speaking before the tournament, Mr Mareko said he was confident about finishing in the country's top three and representing Australia at next year's World Games in Cali, Colombia.

The World Games is a tournament for all non-olympic sports and is held every four years.

¦ For more information about sumo wrestling or the Sydney Martial Arts and Cultural Festival visit martialartsfestival.org/.

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