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Japan's ancient sport of sumo is embracing the latest high-tech, with its governing body set to distribute Apple's iPad to wrestlers who often struggle with smaller cellphone keypads due to their giant hands.

The sumo association said it will hand out iPads to Japan's 51 "stables," or the clubs the wrestlers belong to, with the aim of improving communication among the roly-poly grapplers after some in the past had missed information sent by fax or telephone.

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"We will hand out the newest iPads to all the sumo stables to swiftly communicate what we need to," association vice chairman Hiroyoshi Murayama said.

The iPad tablet PC, which starts at 48,800 yen ($570) in Japan, was likely chosen because many stablemasters do not use computers and wrestlers are not good at punching in messages on their mobile phones with their big hands, Jiji news agency said.

Sumo is trying to overhaul its image after being rocked by a series of scandals including an illegal baseball gambling racket, assault and drug use.

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