Japan short track skater Saito fails doping test, sent home: CAS

Japan short track skater Saito fails doping test, sent home: CAS

Japan's Saito skates ahead of South Korea's Lim during the men's 500m short track se
FILE PHOTO: Japan's Kei Saito skates ahead of South Korea's Lim Hyo-Jun during the men's 500m short track semi-finals at the first winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck January 19, 2012. REUTERS/Christian Forcher

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea: Japanese short-track speed skater Kei Saito has tested positive for doping at the Pyeongchang Olympics, the first doping case of the Games, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said Tuesday (Feb 13).

Saito, 21, failed an out-of-competition test prior to the event, the anti-doping authority said in a statement, adding that he tested positive for acetalozamide, a banned diuretic which is considered as a masking agent.

The CAS statement said Saito had left the athletes' Olympic Village voluntarily and would be provisionally suspended from the Olympics and other competitions pending a full investigation.

Sato, a human biology student whose sister Hitomi is also competing in Pyeongchang, was a member of Japan's 3,000m relay team that finished third at the 2013 and 2014 world junior championships.

He competed on Saturday in the short track speed skating 1,500 metres but was eliminated in the heats. He was scheduled for more races during the Games.

"The athlete accepted on a voluntary basis to be provisionally suspended and to leave the Olympic village," CAS said.

"As a consequence, the athlete is provisionally suspended from competing at the Pyeongchang 2018 (Olympic Games) and at any future ISU (International Skating Union) competition pending the resolution of this matter."

The Japanese Olympic Committee is to hold a news conference later in the day.

Doping cases are rare among Japanese athletes and this is the first for the country at a Winter Olympics.

Last month, however, 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.

He now faces a lifetime ban from the Japan canoe federation.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Source: Agencies/nc