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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 August 2007, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
'Sick' sumo champion leaves Japan
Kimono-clad Asashoryu at Tokyo's Narita Airport for his flight home to Mongolia on 29 August 2007
Pictures of "injured" Asashoryu playing football stunned Japan
Controversial wrestler Asashoryu has been allowed back to his native Mongolia by Japanese sumo officials to seek treatment for a stress disorder.

The grand champion was suspended and punished with a pay cut for playing football while supposedly injured.

The Japan Sumo Association had ordered the 26-year-old to remain in Japan but relented after doctors warned he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has wished him a speedy recovery.

Rooney T-shirt

Asashoryu's trainer Takasago said he would follow him to Mongolia to check on the progress of his treatment.

The wrestler known as the bad boy of sumo, who has 21 tournament titles, has faced allegations of bout-fixing, tax evasion and a storm of criticism over his conduct this year.

But sumo officials decided enough was enough when he was pictured wearing a Wayne Rooney T-shirt while playing at a charity soccer match in his home country two months ago - after he pulled out of a wrestling bout, claiming a back injury.

The 150kg (330lb) Mongolian was slapped with a two-tournament ban and a 30% temporary pay cut - an unprecedented punishment for a "yokozuna", or grand champion.




SEE ALSO
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