View Full Version : And what a time for this article (sumo wrestler discrimination)

10/22/2004 3:24am,
Wrestling a weighty problem
21/10/2004 08:01 - (SA)

Johannesburg - Overweight! Now that's a word that makes the South African sumo wrestling team see red.

In any event, the team members are the smallest among the world's sumo protagonists.

The team had to pay excess of almost R10 000 in Zurich, Switzerland, on Tuesday night on their return journey from the world sumo championships in Germany because of their luggage.

Rusty Schutte, one of the wrestlers, said on Wednesday: "The Swissairs (sic) people complained that our luggage was 25kg overweight."

This was in spite of the fact that the seven members had paid for 10 seats.

Schutte said they were charged R9 917 for excess luggage.

He eventually used his credit card to pay the excess.

It was touch and go

"It was a nightmare. It's discrimination!"

On arrival at Johannesburg International Airport they were met by a representative of the airline who apologised.

Before their departure for the world championships in Germany it was touch and go when Swiss International Airlines almost refused to allow them on the flight because they were "too big".

To solve the problem, the seven wrestlers paid for three extra seats.

According to Schutte, the problems arose when they asked permission to take excess luggage.

"Our passports and visas were ready and paid for," he said.

?The mawhasi, the belts we wear when we wrestle, weigh between 6kg and 8kg each and we asked the carrier whether it would allow us to take excess luggage.

"When they heard we were sumo wrestlers they said we had to buy three extra tickets because of our dimensions.

"I have often seen women on airplanes with bigger backsides than we have!"

'A token of goodwill'

To Schutte's relief and that of his team-mates, their travel agent paid the additional charge.

According to Isabel Hancock, general manager of Swiss International Airlines, the team's penalty was refunded on Wednesday "as a token of goodwill".

Hancock denied the team had to pay for three extra tickets.

"It was an extra-seat tariff - not as much as that of full airfare by far.

"This additional tariff does not provide for additional luggage.

The South Africans took fourth place out of 31 countries in the team competition.

Edited by Iaine Harper


Racism AND size discrimination!
But seriously, I don't feel the airline gave them fair treatment from what I can tell from that article.