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Two sumo wrestlers test positive for marijuana

A young man rolls a marijuana cigarette in downtown Toronto May 3, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

TOKYO (Reuters) - Two Russian sumo wrestlers tested positive for marijuana in tests on Tuesday, a Sumo Association spokesman said, less than two weeks after another Russian was arrested and then fired over suspected possession of the drug.

The latest discovery, uncovered in random urine tests, comes as a fresh blow for the tradition-bound sport, which some historians say dates back 2,000 years but which has been rocked by scandal over the past year.

Some 69 wrestlers were tested at the main Kokugikan stadium in Tokyo, but only Roho and Hakurozan showed positive results, an association executive told a news conference. Broadcaster NHK said the wrestlers were aged 26 and 28.

Last year, one of the sport’s highest-ranked stars, Asashoryu, sparked an uproar when he was filmed playing in a charity soccer match in his native Mongolia after pulling out of a tour in Japan citing a back injury.

Also last year, the head of a training gym was arrested on suspicion of assault leading to the death of a teenage trainee who had talked about leaving the sport.

Reporting by Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Paul Tait