Japanese Saito tests positive in first doping case in Winter Olympics


This is the first doping violation case registered by the CAS Anti-doping Division in PyeongChang.

The court said Saito tested positive for Acetazolamide, a diuretic most commonly prescribed for glaucoma, during an out-of-competition test. Acetazolamide is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances because it has been used by elite athletes to mask banned performance-enhancing substances.

Kei Saito is a reserve member of Japan's 5,000 meter relay team. Three days later, the International Olympic Committee notified them that the results came out positive for an A sample. He was woken up at 2am the following morning by testers who took two samples.

"At this point, all we know is that the sample A and sample B tested positive". "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". "This particular substance can not be bought in Japan without a prescription".

"I have never considered doping".

"I have never, ever meant to do doping", he said in a statement.

"So I have no motivation to use this".

"As for the test results this time, the only possibility I can think of is that I accidentally and unconsciously put a banned substance in my mouth", he added. "I want to prove my innocence but I do not want to burden my team so I accepted this decision", he said.

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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.

Saito issued a statement through the Japanese Olympic Committee denying the use of steroids or masking agents.

JOC official Yasuo Saito said the skater was "extremely shocked" and "could not comprehend" the findings.

"This will be deliberated after the games", he said. "That is why we had to go with the provisional measure".

"We will do everything in our power to help him".

Japan's short track coach said he is "surprised and dismayed" over the test results. "He showed a lot of promise at a young age and has been well educated on doping".

"I have not been able to digest the situation".

January 19, 2012: Japan's Kei Saito, left, skates ahead of South Korea's Lim Hyo-Jun at the first winter Youth Olympic Games.

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