On a historic stage where women athletes are underrepresented, Caroline Dubois triumphed.
C. Dubois Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
The youngest boxer competing for Team GB at these Games overcome his fear of the sumo arena in Tokyo.
The traditional clay dohyo ring had been replaced by a sprung floor, the judges now wore T-shirts and jeans instead of the traditional kimonos, and a rotating boom camera had been installed in the spot where a wooden roof would have been.
Olympic boxers now compete for medals on the same platform that has seen the successes of yokozuna grand champions, tear-stained retirement ceremonies, and upsets welcomed by the flinging of seat cushions from the crowd in Japan’s ancient sport of sumo wrestling.
Although Caroline Dubois did not draw any motivation from the sumo tradition that permeates Ryogoku Kokugikan (the venue’s official name) and the surrounding area in eastern Tokyo, her triumph in the event’s preliminary round on Tuesday was fitting for the venue’s historic status.
After fellow Briton Pat McCormack won a unanimous decision against Belarusian Aliaksandr Radzionau in the morning’s welterweight bout, and after Cheavon Clarke lost to Brazil’s Abner Teixeira in the heavyweight division, the time had come for Dubois, a Guardian correspondent covering the Olympics, to emerge from the coronavirus bubble in the athletes’ village and begin her quest for gold.
Former Global Junior and Youth Olympic Champion Dubois,
Whose first adult competitive fights were in Olympic qualifiers in March of last year, wrote on Monday that she was motivated to make an unforgettable start to her Tokyo 2020 campaign.
That’s what she did in the round of 32 for the lightweight division against a tough Kosovan named Donjeta Sadiku.
The 20-year-old Londoner, encouraged by her superior-tier colleagues, settled into a rhythm after a cautious opening round and finished off her opponent with right jab and left hook combinations to earn a unanimous decision victory and her first gold medal of the Games. On Friday, Dubois will compete against American Rashida Ellis.
Dubois explained that they anticipated their opponent to be “as nasty and scrappy as possible” because of her opponent’s “raw, harsh” nature.
She’s been to the worlds, the Europeans, she’s faced the best, so I knew she was going to be tough. “She has more experience than me and has competed at a significant level.”
At the arena’s entrance, Dubois followed in the footsteps of countless greats, including the current yokozuna, Hakuho Sho, widely considered the greatest of all time.
After Retracing her steps down the aisle to Celebrate her Victory,
Dubois admitted that the pressure to perform well was increased by seeing her Team GB teammates win events during the first three days in Tokyo. That’s completely insane. Because I didn’t get on till late, the boxing has only just begun.
‘I was getting more and more anxious watching everyone else box. The pressure, which had been mounting since I was always the first one on, had now dissipated. I wanted to jump right into the action.
Many professional athletes have lamented the lack of spectators during the pandemic, while boxers have been largely unconcerned, saying that boxing in near quiet brings them back to their childhood.
As Expected, Dubois was not an outlier.
I was not prepared for how drastically different it is. In particular, I recall seeing the crowd go absolutely wild as Katie Taylor and Natasha Jones stepped out. I couldn’t believe how loud it was.
“There isn’t much of a crowd or any sort of vibe going on, but the tension is definitely there. To put it simply, these are the Olympic Games.
Here, fortunes are either created or lost. To put it simply, our goals coincide. This isn’t too different from what I’m used to, as we often compete in tiny tournaments held in empty arenas.
Although the Kokugikan has previously held boxing events, when it comes to sumo, only women are allowed in the stands.
Female sumo wrestlers do not compete professionally, however many are taking up the sport as amateurs, and all women are forbidden from the dohyo used in the six major tournaments held annually, three of which take place at Kokugikan due to antiquated traditions regarding menstruation.
The ban has Occasionally Caused the Elders who Oversee Sumo to look bad in Public.
In the 2000s, they regularly stopped Fusae Ota, the governor of Osaka and a woman, from entering the ring to give a trophy to the tournament’s victor.
Three years ago, when a man had a stroke while giving a speech at a sumo match, the ridiculousness of the restriction was again exposed when ladies rushed to help.
Remember that boxing was another discipline that did not allow women to compete at the highest levels until London 2012, when Nicola Adams and Taylor became sports celebrities and role models for young Dubois.
“It’s crazy since I was watching Katie and Natasha compete in the Olympics when I was 11,” she remarked. It’s a little surreal now that I’m actually here. Wow, I can’t believe I’m actually at the Olympics. Damn, this is it, I have to remind myself. Inevitably, there will be stress associated with it.
The morning’s rain and wind that had buffeted Tokyo had long since dissipated, replaced by white clouds that dotted an otherwise deep blue sky. Dubois benefited from favourable conditions and the favour of the sumo gods.