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Kayaker banned 8 years for spiking rival’s drink

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TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese kayaker has been banned from competition for eight years for spiking the drink of a rival so that he would fail a doping test.

Yasuhiro Suzuki drugged his key rival at last year’s national championships in September.

Suzuki spiked the drink of rival Seiji Komatsu with an anabolic steroid causing him to fail a doping test, the Japan Anti-Doping Agency said Tuesday.

The Japan Canoe Federation began investigating after Komatsu tested positive but denied ever taking drugs.

After Komatsu tested positive, Suzuki admitted putting a muscle-building supplement containing the banned steroid methandienone in his drink.

The incident is Japan’s first case of an athlete failing a doping test due to deliberate contamination, according to the Japan Anti-Doping Agency, which handed down the eight-year ban.

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Noriaki Kasai makes record 8th Winter Olympics

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Japanese ski jumper Noriaki Kasai is officially on the PyeongChang Olympic team, set to become the first person to compete in eight Winter Olympics, according to Japanese media.

Kasai is 45 years old and made his Olympic debut at Albertville 1992.

At Sochi 2014, Kasai and Russian luger Albert Demtschenko became the first athletes to compete in seven Winter Olympics.

The Russian, now retired, was retroactively disqualified from Sochi as part of the nation’s doping santions.

Kasai won two medals in Sochi, large hill silver and team event bronze. That came 20 years after he won his first Olympic medal in the Lillehammer 1994 team event.

Kasai ranks 38th in this season’s World Cup standings. He has more than 500 career World Cup starts in individual events, the first in 1988.

“My current goal is to win the gold medal at [the] Pyeongchang [2018 Winter Games],” Kasai said in 2015, according to the Japan Times. “When I reached 40, I decided I would call it quits when I turned 50. But now Sapporo, my birthplace, is [potentially] bidding for the 2026 Games. I will be 54 by that time, but it is too big a chance to give up.”

Kasai’s legend is strong in the ski jumping hotbed of Poland, where he was honored in a rap song. And in Finland with a punk rock song.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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Japanese runner clocks 76th sub-2:20 marathon in frigid temps

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Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi reportedly broke the world record for most sub-2:20 marathons by winning a 26.2-mile race in Massachusetts on Monday in single-digit temperatures.

Kawauchi, 30, ran his 76th marathon under 2:20 in winning the Marshfield Marathon in 2:18:59 wearing full-body tights. American Doug Kurtis ran sub-2:20 a total of 75 times.

It may have also been the fastest marathon in weather that cold.

“At 5 km [3.1 miles] I was already all alone and so cold that I couldn’t move my legs,” Kawauchi said, according to Japan Running News. “When I saw my 5 km split it was the first time in a race I’ve ever thought, ‘Why am I doing this?’

“After this I think I could do pretty well going after the Antarctica record.”

Kawauchi was dubbed Japan’s “Citizen Runner” several years ago because he worked a full-time job in his local government.

He debuted in the marathon in 2009, which means he has averaged eight sub-2:20 marathons per year.

He has never competed at the Olympics but is certainly fast enough to make Japan’s team. He was ninth at the world championships in London on Aug. 6 and sixth at the 2015 New York City Marathon.

Kawauchi is entered in the Boston Marathon on April 18.

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