• Kyodo

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Japan’s Yuichi Onda, who was scheduled to compete in the men’s cross country, failed a blood test and is facing a five-day suspension from the ongoing Nordic World Ski Championships, skiing sources said Thursday.

Onda is suspended from the Feb. 17-27 competition until Monday due to a high hemoglobin count in a routine blood testing procedure held by the International Ski Federation on Wednesday.

He strongly denied any connection with blood doping.

“I honestly don’t know why the count is so high,” said the 24-year-old Onda, who placed eighth twice in World Cup events.

“I haven’t done anything wrong so I’m not worried.”

He will take a second test Monday and if his hemoglobin count is within the FIS limit, he will be able to compete in the 1.2-km sprint race the following day.

OBERSTDORF, Germany (Kyodo) Top Japanese Nordic combined skier Daito Takahashi said Friday he will sit out the individual event of the world championships due to a back problem. Takahashi said he felt acute pain after Thursday’s ski-jumping practice and decided to withdraw from Friday’s individual event.

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