After making global headlines when he took out an undefeated champion, Egypt's one and only professional Sumo wrestler opens up to CairoScene about the challenges and success stories in his unique sporting career.
Egypt’s latest pride and joy, the talented Ramy El-Gazar has taken the world - the Sumo world, mind you - by storm. Despite being unknown a couple of weeks ago, El-Gazar seems to be all the social media world is talking about. And rightfully so, as he was recently crowned the world championship after beating heavyweight gold medalist Byambajar ‘Byamba’ Ulambayar, we had the pleasure and honour of talking to the giant sweetheart in a CairoScene exclusive.
What is Sumo wrestling and why is it not popular in Egypt?
Sumo is a Japanese art of wrestling that comes from Imperial times. The rules are quiet simple anyone who touches the floor (except with feet) or is knocked out of the circle loses, and like all other sports that aren’t football, it’s just not that popular.
What are the difficulties and hindrances of practicing Sumo professionally in Egypt?
Social, financial and political. So in every area, really, exists the same problem, which is lack of interest. People aren’t interested in the sport, financially you’re not making any money, and the country doesn’t recognide your achievements. Although, thanks to publications like yours, the social part is changing, and I am hoping a domino effect will take place, and awareness will rise.
So despite all the obstacles when did you decide to go pro and what are some of the factors that helped?
In 2013, with the help, support and prayers of my family and not much else. And with that faith, I was able to win the World Cup in Poland, and I won the MVP award in the same championship. I also claimed the first position in the Hungarian Cup in 2014, and now the World Championship, which I recently beat out the Mongolian opponent who was undefeated for nine years straight.
What does a Sumo wrestler’s diet/exercise consist of?
Like the diet or regime of any other wrestler, the only difference being is you have to eat way more carbs and proteins to gain the necessary power and weight that will make you endure and bulk up during the excruciating workout routines.
If anyone wants to practice Sumo in Egypt, how do they go about it and what’s your advice to them?
Well first of all I’d say good luck because you have to be determined to really stay focused. The lack of recognition and places where you can practice is a true challenge. So be the whole tree and not just a branch; don’t wait for anyone to come and help, although it might and will happen. And, finally, just be determined and have the necessary faith and belief that you’re the best.