TOKYO (Reuters) – The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament has been postponed by two weeks from its scheduled May 10 start due to concerns over the coronavirus, the Japan Sumo Association said on Friday.
The annual 15-day tournament at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan is one of the six major sumo contests held in Japan every year.
The Tokyo tournament is now scheduled to start on May 24, with the next competition to be held in Aichi Prefecture also delayed for two weeks.
The sporting calendar in Japan, like in much of the rest of the world, has been ripped apart by the coronavirus outbreak that has infected 3,425 and killed 78 people in the country.
Also on Friday, Kyodo news reported that Japan’s top domestic soccer and baseball leagues had decided their seasons will have to be pushed back.
Nippon Professional Baseball had planned for an opening day on April 24 while the J.League, which last featured a match in late February, was also scheduled for a late April restart.
However, at a joint meeting between the two leagues in Tokyo on Friday officials said they would recommend to their teams that the fixtures are postponed further.
“Unfortunately things are getting worse now,” Kyodo quoted Japanese baseball commissioner Atsushi Saito as saying.
“We’ll have to discuss this with all 12 teams, but it looks like we’ll have to be prepared for an extension.”
Team representatives will meet later on Friday to discuss the proposal.
Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Peter Rutherford