With the sport already in jeopardy due to the coronavirus, the sumo world will have to deal with an internal issue. A wrestler has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Japan Sumo Association.
A low-ranked wrestler tested positive and is currently being monitored after not feeling severe symptoms. On Saturday, the unnamed star suffered from a fever, halting an elation that sumo stars would not be involved with 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 JSA’s communications director, via The Japan Times.
The only change to the sumo schedule now includes the temperatures of the wrestlers being taken twice a day. Additionally, the tokoyama that is responsible for styling the hair of wrestlers has been asked to avoid public transportation.
While the lower-tier wrestler may not have infected anyone else, there is still plenty to be concerned about. The upcoming May and July Grand Sumo Tournament’s have been delayed due to the virus. Last month’s Grand Sumo Tournament was able to take place as planned, but without any spectators. There was a cause for concern when Chiyomaru suffered from a fever, but took tests which came back negative for the coronavirus.
Depending on how the next few weeks go, the upcoming Grand Sumo Tournament (May 24) could still go on. There are still a few options which include fans in the arena, no fans are postpone the event altogether. Japan has already had to postpone the Olympics until 2021 and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared a state of emergency in multiple areas.
“The situation around the world has become more serious,” Shibatayama went on to say. “We need to decide the direction we are going (with the meet).”