First sumo wrestler tests positive for coronavirus
- 10 April 2020
The Japan Sumo Association said Friday a wrestler has tested positive for the new coronavirus, marking the first confirmed case in the country's ancient sport, APA reports citing Kyodo.
The wrestler, whose name and stable has not been disclosed, belongs to one of the sport's lower divisions, the JSA said. He first developed a fever on Saturday, but none of his stablemates or officials has complained of symptoms of the virus.
"It made me realize that infections exist close around us. I hope from the bottom of my heart that (the wrestler's) condition doesn't become severe," said Shibatayama, the association's communications director.
The case comes as a new blow to the association, which has already been forced to make changes to the schedule and format of its grand tournaments in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
After holding the spring tournament in March in Osaka without spectators, the association delayed the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo by two weeks, with a new start date of May 24.
It has said the Tokyo meet might also be held without spectators or canceled altogether depending on the situation of the pandemic.
Shibatayama said, "The situation around the world has become more serious. We need to decide the direction we are going (with the meet)."