One of Japan's top sprint canoeists has been banned from competition for eight years after he admitted spiking a rival's drink with a banned substance in an attempt to disqualify him for selection at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Yasuhiro Suzuki, 32, was considered a medal hopeful at the upcoming Games. However, he confessed to putting a muscle-enhancing substance in the drink of 25-year-old Seiji Komatsu before a race at the national canoe sprint championships last September in Ishikawa Prefecture.
Announcing the eight-year ban, the Japan Anti-Doping Agency described Suzuki's offence as "extremely evil".
They added in a statement: "Suzuki's conduct is totally contrary to the spirit of sporting fair play."
Komatsu won the race after being spiked with the banned substance, but was later disqualified after he failed a drugs test.
Komatsu's suspension has now been lifted after Suzuki admitted putting the supplement in his drink.
The agency is said to be looking into banning the canoeist for life given his past conduct, which includes attempting to sabotage other competitors by stealing their equipment.
Suzuki told the federation: "I was fretting. I did it as I thought he would overwhelm me. I didn't expect he'd actually test positive."
Suzuki and Komatsu had been teammates at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in the Czech Republic.