|June 6 and 7||in Melbourne|
|June 13 and 14||in Sidney|
30 tons of local dirt were brought into Melbourne Park National Tennis Center, the site of the Australian Open, to make the dohyo or ring. The center was packed with an audience of 15,000 on the first day. They got to see Akebono and Musashimaru meeting in the final of the tournament. Akebono pushed the Hawaiian born ozeki out and earned 500 thousand yen. The next day, Takanohana became the winner, and he and Akebono fought for the overall title in Melbourne in front of a nearly 16,000 crowd. As a result, Akebono was pushed out by Takanohana. So Takanohana successfully made his revenge of the May Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo. It is said that Konishiki and Akebono received the biggest applause followed by the small Mainoumi.
The sumo tori enjoyed Melbourne and the Gold Coast in their own ways. Some went paragliding, jet skiing, playing golf, visiting children's hospitals. A group of 12 went to enjoy barbecue at a local resident's home. Then it was time again to fight in a 2 day tournament this time in Sydney. The Sydney Entertainment Center was packed both days and the 11,500 or so spectators each of those days responded with big applause, foot stamping and finger blowing. Takanohana proved his power again by clinching the title both days. Therefore, an overall title playoff was not needed. The Australia tour attracted a record breaking turnout of all overseas expeditions of the sumo troupe.
Michiyo's Note: I've heard that the Australians were hardly familiar with any of the sumo tori's names. They get a chance to see a highlight of an entire grand sumo tournament only. It's amazing that without much knowledge they could enjoy such a strange culture.
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