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Learning English - Words in the News
27 February, 2006 - Published 14:41 GMT
Women fight to be sumos
The Sumo World Cup takes place in Japan in October
Jackie Bates, English female sumo wrestler

Two women, who live in Derby in England, are training hard to compete against the world's top female sumo wrestlers. The Sumo World Cup takes place in Japan in October and the women, who are training partners, are both hoping to qualify. This report is read by Catherine Addis:

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The sport, a male bastion which began as a Shinto ritual in Japan about 1,500 years ago, only recently opened up its ranks to women. But Jackie Bates, 50, who weighs 127kg, has already won a silver medal and aims to win more.

"It's supposed to be a vicious sport and takes a lot of fighting sprit and a lot of guile," she said. "It's like pushing a bus around, but it keeps me fit, keeps me on my toes and people say I look good."

Her trainer Steve 'Sumo' Pateman, who pioneered sumo wrestling in the UK, said: "Women tend to be mentally tougher than males - they're determined to win and it's the key to everything."

She trains four times a week and lifts weights to gain strength, managing up to 70kg on the bar.

"Jackie's very feminine but she can generate the aggression that she needs," Mr Pateman said.

Jackie adds: "It is a very dynamic, powerful sport and that's what I like about it. It will take a while for the British women to reach the top - they're not as brave as the European women where there is a huge following and where there are many women who are fighting already."

Her training partner Chantal Freebury, said: "It seems like only a few seconds in the ring sometimes, but it gets your heart going. It's the fitness and the enjoyment that draws me in - it's a lot of fun."

Ms Bates, who is an aerobics teacher, competed in the Sumo World Cup in 2003. She's also fought in Japan and elsewhere in Europe and is hoping to qualify for the World Cup again in October in Japan. Sumo wrestlers hope their sport will join the Olympics and 84 countries are now affiliated to the International Sumo Federation.

Listen to the words

a male bastion
a sport that is traditionally only taken part in and controlled by men

a Shinto ritual
a ceremony that's a part of the Japanese religion, Shinto

cleverness, an abililty to trick the opponent

keeps me on my toes
helps me to remain good at what I do

started, the first to introduce the sport in the UK

the bar
the straight metal stick which weights are hung on to help strengthen muscles

the ring
the round area in which the sumo wrestlers fight; traditionally, women weren't allowed to enter the ring

it gets your heart going
it makes your heart beat faster

draws me in
attracts me to it

an aerobics teacher
a teacher who leads very energetic fitness exercises, often performed to music

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