First sumo wrestler tests positive for coronavirus

The Japan Sumo Association has announced last Friday that a lower-ranked wrestler has tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first confirmed case in the country’s ancient sport.

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 his condition doesn’t become severe,” said Shibatayama, the association’s communications director.

The daily training sessions are still going on, but new instructions include requiring wrestlers to take their temperatures twice a day.

The tokoyama responsible for styling wrestlers’ hair into their signature oiled topknots have been advised to avoid public transportation when traveling to and from stables, a spokesman said.


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