The Japanese Sumo Association (JSA) said on Thursday 19 wrestlers, including 18 from the Tamanoi stable, have tested positive for COVID-19, just days before the next major tournament is due to start.
The September Grand Sumo tournament is due to begin at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan on Sunday.
Kyodo News Agency reported that all 28 wrestlers from the Tamanoi stable that were due to compete had been pulled out, including 33-year-old Fujiazuma, who is ranked in sumo’s second division.
The JSA added that 12 of those infected had been hostpitalized but with only mild symptoms. It made no mention of any plans to cancel the tournament.
The JSA plans to let some 2,500 fans attend each day during the upcoming two-week tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan, which has a capacity of 11,000.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw a tournament planned for May cancelled while March’s Spring Grand Tournament in Osaka was held behind closed doors.