Wakatakakage, a wrestler in sumo's elite makuuchi division, has become infected with the novel coronavirus, the Japan Sumo Association announced Thursday.

Wakatakakage. (Kyodo)

The 26-year-old was examined at a medical facility after feeling unwell Thursday morning. The process of identifying those having had close contact with the No. 2 maegashira is now going forward under the guidance of health officials.

"He had a temperature of over 38 C and a sore throat," said sumo elder Shibatayama, the JSA's communications director. "Everyone in the (Arashio) stable, and (Wakatakakage's) family, will be tested."

The news comes 10 days ahead of the 15-day New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, starting on Jan. 10 at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan. Shibatayama said it was too soon to tell whether the wrestler would be able to compete.

Shibatayama said Wakatakakage has had no contact with wrestlers from other stables. During the current health crisis, training between wrestlers from different stables has been prohibited.

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