West Maegashira 15 Chiyomaru withdrew on day 8 of the March tournament due to a high fever, forfeiting the win to East M17 Meisei who is now at 3-5. He is the 4th sekitori to withdraw from this basho, the others being Tomokaze (day 1), Tsurugisho, and Takayasu (both on day 5). He is the first sekitori however to withdraw due to a fever.
For this tournament, the Sumo Association is mandating that each wrestler must have both a morning and evening temperature taken every day. If a wrestler’s morning and evening temperatures exceed 37 degrees Celsius (98.6F) for a duration of 5 minutes each time for two days straight, he is required to withdraw from the tournament.
According to crisis management director Kagamiyama (former Tagaryu), Chiyomaru ran a temperature of 38C (100.4F) for 6 minutes on Saturday evening after the day’s fights, and 39C (102.2F) for 7 minutes on Sunday morning. Chiyomaru’s stablemaster, Kokonoe-oyakata (former Ozeki Chiyotaikai) said Chiyomaru is “already” in quarantine. He had an influenza examination on the 15th and will be undergoing further testing at a hospital on Monday.
[Follow up: Chiyomaru’s temperature was up to 40C (104F) Monday morning. The suspected illness is cellulitis, but he is still scheduled to take a PCR test. Results will be available on Tuesday.]
That being said, neither Chiyomaru nor any other wrestler has tested positive for Corona virus, as of March 16th.
His brother Chiyootori said, “He was healthy yesterday (Saturday). He told me his body felt just fine but somehow had a high temperature. I think he’d bounce right back with a little rest.”
Kagamiyama-oyakata said that at least one lower division wrestler who had presented with a fever this basho had already returned to a normal temperature by the 14th. [Follow up: Chiyomaru is indeed the 3rd rikishi to run a fever, but will be the first to take a PCR test.] The association reiterated their intention to cancel the tournament immediately if any wrestler or other sumo association member falls ill with COVID-19. How the final results of the tournament will be handled (their effect on rank, etc.) in the case of a cancellation has not yet been decided.
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