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Olympic canoeist poisons rival’s drink, earns eight-year ban

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Japan ’ s Olympic chief has slammed a top canoeist for spiking a rival ’ s drink with a banned substance to scuttle his Tokyo 2020 selection hopes , describing his act as “ unthinkable . ”
The Japan Anti – doping Agency last week banned Yasuhiro Suzuki for eight years for putting a prohibited muscle – boosting agent into the drink bottle of fellow sprint canoeist , Seiji Komatsu , during a domestic competition last September .
Canoe officials branded Suzuki’ s actions “ evil ” and Japan Olympic Committee president , Tsunekazu Takeda , also blasted the disgraced athlete Friday, accusing him of bringing shame on Japan before next month ’ s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang .
“ For a scandal like this to break as we head to Pyeongchang is extremely sad , ” Takeda told AFP.
“ It was an unthinkable act and totally goes against the spirit of the Olympics . It’ s a real shame and we cannot afford to let this kind of thing happen ever again . ”
Suzuki admitted to spiking the drink after receiving an intensive anti -doping lecture during a training camp , according to the federation.
“ We meet top athletes regularly to teach them the importance of maintaining their credibility and still this has happened , ” said Takeda .
“ I met with all the Olympic organisations yesterday and called for them to go back to the drawing board and make sure this doesn ’ t happen again . ”
The Japan Canoe Federation could still impose a life ban on Suzuki , 32 , citing a history of sabotaging rivals , sometimes by stealing their equipment .
Komatsu won the race in September but was later provisionally suspended after he tested positive for the drug , which he strenuously denied using . His suspension has now been lifted .
Both Suzuki and Komatsu were among the top candidates to represent Japan at the forthcoming 2020 Olympics .

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