Mitakeumi COVID-positive

Those who watched the live broadcast today will already know that Mitakeumi was kyujo, because a rikishi from Dewanoumi beya was found positive for COVID.

However, in the afternoon, the NSK announced that Mitakeumi himself had a PCR test, and was found positive. This may have severe implications for the basho.

Ichinojo, who fought the kadoban Ozeki on day 6, underwent a test, and was found negative. However, the virus does take time to multiply to detectable levels, so a test only after one day from exposure is not reliable.

Dewanoumi oyakata himself will not go kyujo, as he is staying in a separate facility than the rikishi for the duration of Nagoya basho, so is not considered exposed.

This is the first time a COVID-19 case is discovered during honbasho. It’s not clear how the NSK is going to handle the situation. So far there has been no announcement of further measures or tests outside Dewanoumi beya. We’ll keep our readers up to date if such information turns up.

As for Mitakeumi’s status on the next banzuke, Isegahama oyakata, who is the head of the Shimpan department, which decides this, says that they will discuss it and make the decision after the basho, during the usual banzuke deliberations. So far any COVID kyujo resulted in a preservation of rank (or a slight demotion), but a mid-way kyujo is, as I said, unprecedented, and the kadoban situation is also unique.

We wish Mitakeumi and his heya mates a speedy, symptom-free recovery, and hope no further cases turn

4 thoughts on “Mitakeumi COVID-positive

  1. I think there is no choice. They must demote Mitakeumi to Sekiwake.
    If a positive COVID test during a honbasho still preserves a rikishi’s rank, this opens the door to some “surprisingly positive tests” around day 13, 14… for badly performing rikishi.

    They could however simply take into account the performance up to the positive test, which is in Mitakeumi’s case 2-4, therefore make-koshi, therefore demotion.

    • I think a reasonable rule would be to deem the cancelled fights as 50% wins/losses for banzuke purposes.
      Note that this matches what happens for a rikishi who misses a whole basho for COVID reasons. Let’s hope that Ichinojo will be OK, If he goes kyojo the whole basho is a complete shambles.

    • I think you are not taking into account that PCR tests are pretty regulated. The rikishi don’t just show up with a test result. The local health authority has to be informed, and gives instructions regarding quarantine and follow-up. The case goes into the city statistics, there’s too much public red tape.

      Also, they don’t want to incentivize rikishi to hide positive cases. That’s why there are no “how did you get sick, did you break regulations?” kind of inquiry when rikishi or other employees are positive.

  2. I think they should preserve his rank for now. He hasn’t had a full chance to clear kadoban. People (and horses) can come from behind. (See this year’s Kentucky Derby for an example.)


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