Grand Sumo Tournaments Postponed by 2 Weeks


Tokyo, April 3 (Jiji Press)--The Japan Sumo Association said Friday that it has decided to postpone the opening of the summer grand tournament in Tokyo by two weeks to May 24 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The subsequent grand tournament, to be held in Nagoya, the capital of the central Japan prefecture of Aichi, will also be put off by two weeks, to start on July 19. The postponements were decided at an extraordinary board meeting of the professional sumo-governing body, held at the Ryogoku Kokugikan hall in Tokyo.

"We'll consider the summer tournament schedule from various angles, including possible cancellation, while aiming to hold it in full," Hakkaku, head of the association and former yokozuna sumo grand champion Hokutoumi, told a news conference.

He noted that the schedule may change again, indicating the possibility of the association holding the summer tournament without spectators as it did in the previous spring grand tournament in March or scaling down the coming event.

In case the government declares a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, "We have to determine our direction by holding a board meeting," Shibatayama, the association's public relations chief and former yokozuna Onokuni, said, adding, "I think canceling the tournament could be an option."

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Jiji Press