JUDO

Athens medalist Yokosawa warned over doping

Athens Olympic 52-kg silver medalist Yuki Yokosawa received a strict reprimand from the International Judo Federation for allegedly violating doping rules during a French International meet last February, judo sources said Wednesday.

The doping violation is an extremely rare occurrence in Japan’s hallmark sport.

IJF officials said Yokosawa tested positive for a banned steroid-type substance found in medicine used to treat asthma and skin ailments. Yokosawa subsequently denied using the substance.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said athletes are prohibited from taking this medicine — which contains a hormone that affects the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins — orally and must receive permission beforehand to use it as an ointment.

At the time of the incident, the All-Japan Judo Federation sent a letter to the IJF objecting to the accusation, saying it had no evidence that Yokosawa intentionally used a banned substance.

The IJF decided at an executive meeting last June to issue Yokosawa a warning, however, but came short of suspending her from appearing in the Olympics in August where she took silver.

After the doping revelation, Yokosawa was suspended from competing at meets in France by local doping authorities for six months from September last year.