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Young giant from Australia

Samantha-Jane Stacey (right) competes against Tatiana Lastovetskaya of Russia
during the 7th Junior Sumo World Championshps in Estonia, on October 11, 2008
Photo Getty Images

Sumo schoolgirl hopes for glory at world championships

Русская версия

A 280 pound 14-year-old schoolgirl is aiming for sporting glory, as she takes part in the Sumo world championships.

Samantha-Jane Stacey is Australia's strongest medal hope at the world championships in Estonia next month.

She began Sumo training two years ago after previous experience of wrestling and will compete in the junior women's heavyweight division.

A diet of Weetabix and lasagna is credited with helping her maintain the sturdy frame required for the sport.

However she dismissed suggestions that Sumo is all about bulk.

"I love it because it's a physical, body-contact sport but you've also got to use your brain and have mental tactics." she said. "It's a perfect sport for girls because you have to think on your feet." She added; "I am so proud to represent my country and I want to keep doing it."

Katrina Watts, president of the Australian Sumo Federation, told goldcoast.com in Australia: "The sport has great appeal because its full body contact but you don't punish your opponent. Instead you need balance, flexibility and body strength and that has attracted new converts from judo, wrestling and gymnastics."

Although the traditional sumo wrestlers wear only the tightly-wrapped and supportive sumo belt, known as a mawashi, modern amateurs wear the belt over clothing during matches.

Ms Watts added: "The Eastern Europeans are very strong but we have got a great team who are very enthusiastic."

*** Samantha won silver on the 2008 Sumo World Junior championships

October 2008

Samantha-Jane Stacey
Samantha wrestles with a man

Samantha-Jane Stacey
Photo Getty Images
Samantha-Jane Stacey

Samantha-Jane Stacey

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