Japanese speedskater fails doping test, 1st of 2018 Olympic Winter Games

Japanese skater vows to prove innocence in Olympic doping

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea-A Japanese short track speed skater is the first athlete at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to be felled by a positive doping test and has been temporarily suspended from competition, including the Games.

Kei Saito is a reserve member of Japan's 5,000 meter relay team.

Saito said he accepted the provisional suspension because "I do not want to be a disturbance to my teammates competing at the Olympic Games. and will leave the team and the athletes village voluntarily".

"I have never considered doping". "As a outcome, the athlete is provisionally suspended from competing at Pyeongchang 2018 and at any future International Skating Union competition pending the resolution of this matter".

Saito denied intentionally doping in a statement.

"So I have no motivation to use this. The only way this substance could have entered my system is that I took it unknowingly and happened by accident". "That is why we had to go with the provisional measure. We will offer him full support through this".

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It said the Japanese Olympic Committee had scheduled a press conference Tuesday to address Saito's adverse finding.

Saito, a human biology student whose sister Hitomi is also competing in Pyeongchang, becomes the first Japanese athlete to test positive for doping at a Winter Olympics, according to Japanese reports.

Russia was banned from the PyeongChang Games entirely in December as punishment for alleged state-backed doping at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

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.

The 21-year-old has for the first time secured a spot on the Olympic team.

The highest court in world sports handles the prosecution of doping cases, and the International Olympic Committee is responsible for testing athletes.

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