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JSA begins coronavirus testing for 900 wrestlers, stablemasters


The Japan Sumo Association said Monday antibody testing for the new coronavirus is now available to its roughly 900 members, including wrestlers and stablemasters.

Forty-three people from two stables were tested Monday, with the JSA expecting to complete testing in about a month for everyone in the association who wishes to be tested.

According to sumo elder and JSA public relations manager Shibatayama, around 50 members from two to three stables will be tested each day.

By detecting the presence of antibodies in the blood, the tests give an indication of whether the person being tested has previously been exposed to coronavirus infection.

The testing program follows the death last week of 28-year-old lower-division wrestler Shobushi, whose real name was Kiyotaka Suetake. He is the first sumo wrestler to die from the pneumonia-causing virus.

His stablemaster, Takadagawa, and Hakuyozan, a juryo-division wrestler from the same stable, were also among seven JSA members in total known to have been infected with the virus.

The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, scheduled to take place from May 24 to June 7 at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan, was canceled earlier this month to slow the spread of the virus.

The Nagoya Grand Tournament, set to start on July 19, has been moved to Tokyo, where the JSA is looking to hold it behind closed doors.


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Only 50 Sumo wrestlers a day are being tested? Why so few and why a week after that Sumo wrestler's passing are they doing the testing? That young man was in close vicinity of other wrestlers, staff and the stable master they all should have been tested ASAP once this young man was diagnosed. This is criminal in my mind for the slow response and the few number they are willing to test a day as they should be able test at least a few hundred and if they cannot, why. S. Korea and the United States test thousands on a daily basis at the start of this crisis.

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Kind of late!

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As is the case far too often here, they wait for a body to start taking action. So, after MONTHS, during which the JSA fought tooth and nail to keep the summer basho on despite even their own members getting Corona, they FINALLY start testing everyone... if you can believe them, that is. Remember, they still want desperately to hold the next basho after the one cancelled.

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Hey, someone died so let's start slowly testing people.

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Every rule of preventing the virus infection is broken by the practice of Sumo. But in mid-May they start testing? Does anyone in Sumo management read the news?

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Oh yes, the testing is not mandatory it is a choice. Why? These men all need to be tested so this virus can be halted.

I just read in the Mainichi Shimbun in the middle of April an 80 year old ill man went to the hospital like this Sumo wrestler just to be sent home just like this Sumo wrestler after being tested for the coronavirus. The family of the 80 year old man said there were 200 people with the virus waiting for a bed, and now this was mid April and that he had to wait his turn and died at home to his now very angry family.

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