Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

Japanese Olympic speed skater suspended for doping

Japanese Olympic speed skater suspended for doping

"I've never used body-enhancing drugs so I don't think about hiding it".

"Saito has no idea why this has happened, so we as Japanese Olympic team continue to make every effort to prove that there was no anti-rule violation by Kei Saito".

The Japanese Olympic Committee said Saito was tested at the athletes' village in Gangneung on February 4, and was informed three days later by the IOC that the results came out positive for an A sample.

"I have never thought about using illegal substances", he said.

He is the first Japanese athlete to test positive for doping at the Winter Olympics.

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It has been urging discipline among Japanese athletes after a kayak racer was found to have laced a rival's drink with a banned substance.

The International Olympic Committee beefed up doping tests from before these Games because of its finding of an organized doping system employed by Russian Federation at the Sochi Winter Olympics four years ago.

"I want to fight to prove my innocence because I don't remember (taking the drug) and it's incomprehensible", he said in a statement. The delegation chief said once the Olympics are done, it will move to clear the athlete's name.

According to CAS, Saito has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for acetazolamide, a diuretic and masking agent.

It is the first case of doping at the current Games.

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Saito was summoned before the CAS tribunal on Monday following the positive test for acetalozamide, a medication used to treat complaints ranging from epilepsy to heart failure.

Saito issued a statement on Tuesday to deny intentionally doping and said he was "extremely shocked" by the results.

His sister, Hitomi, is also on Japan's short-track speedskating team.

Japan's short track coach said he is "surprised and dismayed" over the test results.

The 21-year-old first time Olympian is a biology student at Kanagawa University.

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