The Summer Olympics in Tokyo are still a couple of years away, but we already know one person who won’t be competing. Japanese kayaker Yasuhiro Suzuki was banned from the games after getting caught spiking an opponent’s drink with anabolic steroids.
According to a story in Japan Times, Suzuki was given an eight-year suspension by the Japanese Canoe Federation after it finished its investigation. As a result, he’ll be disqualified from the Japanese canoeing team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
During September’s national canoe sprint championships in Japan, Suzuki drugged his top rival, Seiji Komatsu, in an attempt to trigger a positive blood test and get him kicked off the Japanese team. Indeed, Komatsu failed the drug test, but Suzuki later admitted to his wrongdoing and Komatsu’s ban was lifted.
Suzuki is considered one of Japan’s best sprint canoeists and would’ve been a heavy favorite to make the Olympic team. It’s not the first time he was caught trying to sabotage a rival — the investigation revealed that Suzuki also tried to steal other opponents’ training gear in the past, and he might still be considered for a lifetime ban from the sport.
“An incident of this nature is unheard of in the history of sports in Japan and it is very disappointing,” said Sports Agency Director Daichi Suzuki. JCF managing director Toshihiko Furuya added, “It is a significant loss for Japanese people who have spent many years building up sportsmanship as a virtue.”
While this incident is almost unprecedented in Japanese sports, it’s hardly a flattering story for the country as it prepares to host the summer games in just over two years.