Japanese speed skater suspended from Winter Olympics

Feb 14, 2018, 12:27 IST | ANI

Japanese short track speed skater Kei Saito has been kicked out of the Winter Olympics after a positive doping test. This is the first doping case of the Pyeongchang Olympics

South Korea's Seo Yira (L) and Japan's Kei Saito taking part in the men's 1,500m short track speed skating heat event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Gangneung. Japanese short-track speed skater Kei Saito has tested positive for doping at the Pyeongchang Olympic Games. Pic/AFP
South Korea's Seo Yira (L) and Japan's Kei Saito taking part in the men's 1,500m short track speed skating heat event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Gangneung. Japanese short-track speed skater Kei Saito has tested positive for doping at the Pyeongchang Olympic Games. Pic/AFP

Japanese short track speed skater Kei Saito has been kicked out of the Winter Olympics after a positive doping test. This is the first doping case of the Pyeongchang Olympics. The news was announced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who said that the 21-year-old voluntarily accepted a provisionalsuspension after an out-of-competition test showed signs of acetalozamide, which can be a masking agent and is used as a diuretic. Masking agents are often used to cover up performance-enhancing substances. Saito, who left the Olympic Village when told of the news, said he was stunned by the failed test.

"I have consulted with medical experts to treat any injuries or sickness in advance and I have paid attention to my daily consumption of drinks and food," he said. "I have no merit and motivation for using this drug. I cannot think of any other case than I accidentally and unintentionally took it in," CNN reported, citing Saito as saying, in a statement. Saito was a reserve on Japan's 5,000-meter men's relay team. Japanese officials, at a press conference said that, Saito maintains there is no way the substance could have entered his body after he passed the test on 29 January. The revelation is a major embarrassment to Japanese sports, which has long prided itself on its clean image and will be hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. However, Last month, sprint canoeist Yasuhiro Suzuki admitted to spiking a rival's drink with an anabolic steroid to scuttle his Olympic dream, and was banned for eight years.

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