Coronavirus Forces March Sumo Tournament To Go On Without Spectators
The Japan Sumo Association had three choices when it came to March’s Grand Sumo Tournament. It appears they went with option two.
Due to the coronavirus, the tournament, which runs from March 8-22, will be closed off to the public. Over 7,000 people will not be able to view one of the top events in Japan as a result.
“We made this decision to help end the spread of the infection,” the JPA said on its website. “We ask for your understanding.”
It is rare for sumo events to be cancelled. This time, however, it is for fan safety and the concern for others. According to the latest from CNN, Over 3,000 people hav died from the coronavirus, with over 88,000 cases of it from around the world. The virus, which initially started in China, has managed to affect over 200 people in Japan, according to The Guardian.
“To those many who were looking forward to this, we are sorry for this huge inconvenience,” JSA Chairman Hakkaku stated, via Kyodo News. “There were various viewpoints, but there was an absolute desire to hold it for the sake of the fans.”
This is just the latest cause for concern for events taking place in Japan. The Israeli judo team cancelled their training camp in Tokyo, electing to go somewhere else. Additionally, there are questions as to whether the Olympics in Tokyo will even take place. IOC member Dick Pound is working with other members of the organization to determine if the Summer Games will go on as planned.
“As far as we all know, you’re going to be in Tokyo,” Pound recently stated. “All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation.”