Hakuho performs a ring-entering ceremony at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. File/AFP
Gulf Today Report
A top-ranked Japanese sumo wrestler Hakuho has tested positive for coronavirus, and underwent a polymerase chain reaction after detecting problems with his sense of smell, the Japan Sumo Association (JSA) announced on Tuesday.
Mongolian-born Hakuho, who is the longest-serving yokozuna - top-ranked sumo wrestler - of all time announced via the JSA website that he took a COVID-19 test after losing his sense of smell.
He is the first among the top-ranked sumo wrestlers in Japan to test positive for COVID-19.
Hakuho will now seek the advice of specialists and the other wrestlers in his Miyagino stable will now also be tested, according to the statement.
Hakuho is a "yokozuna,” a grand champion in sumo wrestling, and one of the best the traditional Japanese sport has ever seen. In an interview last year he pointed out that his late father was a silver medalist in wrestling for Mongolia in the 1968 Olympics. He also competed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Hakuho’s positive test comes just five days before the sumo New Year Grand Tournament is due to start on Jan.10.
So far, the JSA hasn’t said whether the tournament will be postponed.
In May, 28-year-old sumo wrestler Shobushi died due to multiple organ failure related to the coronavirus after he became infected.
As of Tuesday, Japan has reported 249,246 cases of coronavirus and 3,693 deaths.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday told a ruling party meeting a state of emergency declaration for Tokyo and the surrounding area would be decided on Thursday, local media has reported.
The Ministry expressed its sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and wished COVID-19 patients a speedy and full recovery.
Japan placed 11 of its 47 prefectures under a state of emergency in January as a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation. One of those prefectures, Tochigi, has already emerged early from the emergency restrictions.
The Ministry expressed its sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and wished current COVID-19 patients a speedy and full recovery.
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