Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Top canoeist Yasuhiro Suzuki intentionally mixed a banned drug in a drink of his rival, Seiji Komatsu, in the domestic canoe sprint championships last September, the Japan Canoe Federation said Tuesday.
Over the incident, the Japan Anti-Doping Agency has suspended Suzuki, 32, from competition for eight years from December 2017.
Suzuki intended to frame his 25-year-old rival for doping, in the hope of increasing his chance of being selected to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, according to the federation and other sources.
Both of them took part in the 2017 world canoe sprint championships in the Czech Republic last summer.
Komatsu won a championship in a 200-meter singles sprint in the domestic competition in September. After subsequently testing positive for methandienone, a prohibited steroid, he was slapped with a provisional suspension by JADA on Oct. 20.
However, Suzuki voluntarily reported his conduct after learning about the punishment on Komatsu, which was then rescinded.
This is the first doping case in Japan in which an athlete was framed by somebody else, according to JADA.
The canoe federation said it has also found that Suzuki had repeatedly committed sabotage on his rivals, including stealing their gear.
The federation condemned Suzuki’s behavior as extremely malicious and said it is considering expelling him from the sporting community. It also said it will take measures to restore Komatsu’s honor.
“That’s something absolutely unacceptable,” Osahiro Haruzono, director of the federation, said Tuesday. “We’re sorry that the incident has caused significant inconvenience to other sporting associations.”Speech