Tags: kei saito | doping | ban | olympics

Kei Saito Doping Ban is First in Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

Kei Saito Doping Ban is First in Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

Photo taken on Feb. 5, 2018, shows Japanese short-track speed skater Kei Saito training during official practice for the Pyeongchang Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea. (Kyodo via AP Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 13 February 2018 09:27 AM

Kei Saito failed a doping test and was suspended from the Winter Olympics before he could even compete, BBC News reported.

The 21-year-old Japanese short-track speedskater failed an out-of-competition test, which found traces of a masking agent, and is voluntarily leaving the athletes' Olympic Village despite maintaining his innocence.

Saito had not yet competed in the games, with his first and only event scheduled to be Wednesday's 5,000 meter short track relay, but he was provisionally suspended from the Winter Olympics and other competitions when the test came back positive, Sports Illustrated said.

A masking agent is a diuretic that serves to conceal the presence of other banned substances and also helps athletes to lose weight quickly, The Guardian reported.

Saito said he was shocked by the test results, insisting he had never taken a steroid and there was no need for him to use a masking agent.

"I have consulted with medical experts to treat any injuries or sickness in advance and I have paid attention to my daily consumption of drinks and food," he said, according to CNN. "I have no merit and motivation for using this drug. I cannot think of any other case than I accidentally and unintentionally took it in."

Saito added that, although he wanted to prove his innocence, he did not want to burden his team, which is why he chose to leave, BBC noted.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said that this was the first doping violation of the 2018 Pyeongchang Games but it did not affect the results at the games.

The incident comes as anti-doping authorities seek to ramp up testing for the Pyeongchang Games following the 2014 doping scheme that emerged at the last Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

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Japanese speedskater Kei Saito was suspended from the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchange after failing a doping test.
kei saito, doping, ban, olympics
Tuesday, 13 February 2018 09:27 AM
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