While many sumo stars expected a change in plans, the Japan Sumo Association made things official this week. The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, set to take place from May 24 to June 7, has been officially canceled due to the coronavirus.
According to Kyodo News, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an extension of Japan’s state of emergency over the pandemic. It is unknown the status of the tournament set to take place from July 19 until August 2. It was determined, however, that it would be moved from Nagoya to Tokyo and it may be behind closed doors. This is the third cancellation of the Grand Sumo Tournament in its history and first since 2011.
Originally, the Grand Sumo Tournament was moved two weeks as a precaution. The fifteen-day tournament is one of sumo’s premier competition formats. The March Grand Sumo Tournament was able to go on as planned, but without any spectators. Hakuho was able to win the whole thing following a dramatic weekend comeback
A few weeks ago, a lower-ranked star tested positive for the virus. Last week, seven people including stablemaster Takadagawa, wrestler Hakuyozan, and several low-ranked wrestlers tested positive for the virus. As a result, stables were informed not to perform any practices that required heavy contact.
The JSA will continue to keep an eye on the situation, as well as find ways to test all wrestlers.