TALLINN — Ozeki Baruto received an award from Estonia President Toomas Ilves on Wednesday in the nation's capital.
Baruto, whose real name is Kaido Hoovelson, was presented with the Order of the White Star, third class in a ceremony attended by Japan's ambassador to Estonia Hideaki Hoshi. The award is in recognition of services to the Estonian state.
In 2004, Baruto became the first sumo wrestler from the Baltic state. He was promoted to ozeki in 2010. After winning this year's New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, Baruto was a candidate for promotion to yokozuna, the sport's highest rank, but his 10-5 record in the Spring tourney ended that storyline. He had a 9-6 record at the recently completed Summer Grand Tournament.
Although there are no sumo broadcasts in Estonia, the 27-year-old wrestler's progress in each tournament is followed intently through the print media and the Internet.