Mitakeumi is making a return to Sekiwake after 10 wins in March. Excited to be standing at sumo’s third highest rank for the 12th time, despite the uncertain chances that he will get to flaunt it later this month, the expert belt fighter has been working hard to prepare.
“I’m focusing on basic exercises, taking my time with the small details,” he told reporters over the phone on Friday. When asked about how he feels returning to Sekiwake, “I want to aim higher so I don’t fall out of Sanyaku again,” said Mitakeumi.
He went on to talk about the virus, “I’m hoping it will be resolved some day soon. I’m doing thorough handwashing and gargling and whatnot.” If the summer tournament were to actually happen in the midst of the virus, Mitakeumi has a simple desire, “I want to show everyone (the fans) good sumo.”
Public relations director Shibatayama said of the much deliberated upcoming Natsu Basho, “We have to take the government’s emergency declaration into account when making a decision. Any possible extension of the state of emergency, as well as how things are going in the rest of the world need to be included in our discussions.”
Beginning with football and baseball, many sports are taking an indefinite hiatus. Sumo has been an outlier since March when the regularly scheduled program was not cancelled, but instead held without spectators or much of the usual fanfare.
“The actions we take in sumo do have some influence on the rest of society,” Shibatayama reiterated, “so we’re carefully considering our next move.” As for the sumo association meetings at which these things are decided, “Right now the elders are unable to assemble,” was the excuse.