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Sumo Wrestling returns amidst call for Games cancellation


Sumo wrestling very popular sport in Japan bounced back in the public domain Sunday despite steady rise in coronavirus infections.

It was however a mixture of joy and caution among fans who trouped out to watch the Japanese spectacle.

The tournament runs through August 2 at Ryogoku Kokugikan, the primary sumo arena at the heart of the Japanese capital.

The tournament comes a week after Japanese baseball and football opened stadiums to spectators, and as the government seeks to keep the economy open despite worrying signs of the virus’s resurgence, particularly in Tokyo.

Only 2,500 fans were allowed inside the 11,098-seat stadium, unlike in normal times when bouts are performed in front of sold-out crowds. They were asked to refrain from cheering and stick to applause to express their passion.

sumo wrestlers returned to action Sunday in Tokyo

Anyone with a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 F) or higher was denied entry. Spectators also had to wear masks, sanitise their hands, keep a distance from others and refrain from touching wrestlers or approaching them for autographs

Ironically one in four people in Japan want to see the coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Games held next year, with most backing either further delay or a cancellation, a new poll shows.

Only 23.9 per cent of respondents in the three-day nationwide poll published Sunday said they wanted to see the 2020 Games held next year.

The survey carried out by Kyodo News agency found 36.4 per cent of respondents back a further delay of the Games, while 33.7 think the flagship event should be cancelled altogether.

Most of those backing a delay or cancellation said they simply didn’t believe the pandemic could be contained in time for the Games, now scheduled to open on July 23, 2021.

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A separate survey carried out over the weekend by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper found 33 per cent of respondents backed holding the Games next year, with 61 per cent supporting another postponement or cancellation.

The nationwide polls echo a separate survey carried out last month of Tokyo residents, which found just over half of respondents backed either further delay or cancellation.


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