January 10, 2018 / 10:57 AM / a year ago

Japanese canoeist faces life ban for spiking rival's drink

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese sprint canoeist is facing a life ban after admitting to spiking a rival’s drink with an anabolic steroid to scuttle his Olympic dreams, the Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday.

Yasuhiro Suzuki has apologized for putting Seiji Komatsu under “unwarranted suspicion” by tampering with his drink, which caused the latter to fail a drugs test at a national meet in September.

“Instead of working hard, I committed misconduct as an athlete and, further, as a member of society,” Suzuki said in a statement released by his lawyer.

Suzuki, who has been handed an eight-year suspension by the country’s anti-doping agency, faces a life ban from the Japan Canoe Federation (JCF) following the incident.

Komatsu was provisionally suspended after failing a drugs test but the 25-year-old has been allowed to resume his bid to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after Suzuki’s confession during the JCF probe.

“At first I couldn’t believe this kind of thing would happen in Japan,” Komatsu said, revealing he had effectively given up on his Tokyo 2020 dreams.

“Until Mr Suzuki confessed, I was in a bad mental state. I began to feel hopeless about (competing at) the Tokyo Olympics, that it was impossible,” Komatsu added.

According to the report, the JCF probe found that Suzuki had made multiple attempts to sabotage several of his team mates, sometimes by stealing their equipment.

Ishikawa prefecture police are also probing the incident following a complaint from Komatsu.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien

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