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Midlands woman awarded for Sumo wrestling commentary in Japan

Doreen Simmons has been a Sumo commentator for 25 years. Photo: BPM MEDIA

A Midlands woman who has commentated on Sumo wrestling in Japan for 25 years has been recognised for her service.

85-year-old Doreen Simmons, who is originally from Alfreton Road in Nottingham and now lives in the heart of sumo land, Ryogoku, has been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun.

The medal was established in 1875 – and is one of the highest orders awarded by the Japanese Government.

Sumo wrestling has been a sport in Japan for hundreds of years Credit: PA

Doreen Simmons first travelled to the Japan more than 40 years ago, when she started working for the Foreign Press Centre.

Her career as a commentator came after watching sumo wrestling and taking an instant liking to it:

I arrived in September 1973, and was able to watch sumo live for the first time in January 1974. Whenever it was on in Tokyo I went every Saturday and Sunday. Four or five years later I started going to the Osaka and Nagoya tournaments too.

– Doreen Simmons

Doreen says she was first hired as a commentator because she was one of a handful of people who spoke English and also had specialist knowledge of the sport.

She is now an English-language commentator for NHK - one of the most popular channels on mainstream Japanese television.

After being awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Doreen said:

I was amazed when I got the news - I have simply never thought of myself in those terms. And there are very many of these decorations. I get the feeling that, since most of the Japanese population don't know anybody who got one of these decorations, they are a way of spreading happiness.

– Doreen Simmons