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Japan's traditional sport sumo hit by six more coronavirus cases

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-04-26 09:11
Spectators' seats are seen empty as sumo wrestlers hold a Dohyo ring entering ceremony at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament which is taking place behind closed doors amid the spread of coronavirus, in Osaka, western Japan, March 8, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO - Japan's traditional sport sumo was hit hard on Saturday as one stablemaster and five wrestlers were confirmed to test positive for COVID-19.

Japan's Kyodo news agency said that stablemaster Takadagawa has tested positive for the virus along with Hakuyozan, a wrestler at his stable in Tokyo who competes in the second-tier juryo division.

Four wrestlers who belong to the lower divisions have also contracted the virus.

Earlier this month, a wrestler competing in one of the lower divisions tested positive for the virus, marking the first confirmed case in the country's ancient sport, Kyodo said.

The incident has left the summer sumo tournament, due to kick off in Tokyo on May 24, in doubt because of the worsening pandemic situation in Japan. The spring tournament had be held behind closed doors in March.

Sumo has become the third sport in Japan which has suffered badly from the new coronavirus since the outbreak began in late January.

Eleven out of 15 players from the Osaka Evessa basketball club in Japan's B League Division 1 tested positive and 17 out of 39 staff members of the All Japan Judo Federation, including their managing director Soya Nakazato, have contracted the virus.

A female employee with the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee was also infected with the virus earlier this week. 

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