Japanese kayaker Yasuhiro Suzuki 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.

See more photos of Seiji Komatsu:

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Japan's bronze medallist Seiji Komatsu poses during the medal ceremony for the men's kayak single (K1) 200m final sprint event at the Hanam Misari Canoe/Kayak Centre, during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, September 29, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji (SOUTH KOREA - Tags: SPORT CANOEING)
Japan's Seiji Komatsu (R) competes with South Korea's Cho Gwang-hee in their men's kayak single (K1) 200m final sprint event at the Hanam Misari Canoe/Kayak Centre, during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, September 29, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji (SOUTH KOREA - Tags: SPORT CANOEING)
Silver medallist Uzbekistan's Ernest Irnazarov (L) and bronze medallist Japan's Seiji Komatsu (R) look on as gold medallist South Korea's Cho Gwanghee (C) reacts during the men's kayak single (K1) 200m medal ceremony of the 2014 Asian Games at the Hanam Mirasi Canoe/Kayak Centre in Incheon on September 29, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
South Korea's Cho Gwanghee (L) rows alongside Japan's Komatsu Seiji during the men's kayak single (K1) 200m event of the 2014 Asian Games at the Hanam Mirasi Canoe/Kayak Centre in Incheon on September 29, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
South Korea's Cho Gwanghee (R) rows ahead of Uzbekistan's Ernest Irnazarov (bottom) and Japan's Komatsu Seiji during the men's kayak single (K1) 200m medal ceremony of the 2014 Asian Games at the Hanam Mirasi Canoe/Kayak Centre in Incheon on September 29, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
(L/R): Silver medallist Uzbekistan's Ernest Irnazarov, gold medallist South Korea's Cho Gwanghee and bronze medallist Japan's Seiji Komatsu pose after the men's kayak single (K1) 200m medal ceremony of the 2014 Asian Games at the Hanam Mirasi Canoe/Kayak Centre in Incheon on September 29, 2014. AFP PHOTO / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
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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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