A Japanese kayaker and 2020 Olympic hopeful is reportedly facing a lifetime ban from competitions after admitting to spiking a rival’s drink with a banned substance, causing him to fail a doping test.
Yasuhiro Suzuki, 32, confessed to putting an anabolic steroid in fellow kayaker Seiji Komatsu’s drink during last year’s national championships, the Japan Anti-Doping Agency said Tuesday.
The agency consequently slapped Suzuki with an eight-year ban, though on Wednesday the Kyodo News agency reported that the Japan Canoe Federation is considering a life ban on the athlete, who in a statement apologized for his actions, according to Reuters.
“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.
The Japan Canoe Federation said it launched an investigation after Komatsu failed his test but denied having taken any drugs.
Suzuki later confessed. An investigation also found that he had made other attempts to sabotage his competitors, such as stealing equipment they used in training and competition, Kyodo reported.
Komatsu was initially suspended after failing the test but has since been allowed to resume competing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a result of Suzuki’s confession.
“At first I couldn’t believe this kind of thing would happen in Japan,” Komatsu said, according to Reuters. “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.”
This is the first time that an athlete in Japan has knowingly sabotaged another athlete deliberately through a doping test, The Associated Press reported, citing the Japan Anti-Doping Agency.