INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA – Japan Swimming Federation head Daichi Suzuki said Thursday the federation’s executive committee will decide next Tuesday how to punish Naoya Tomita and senior swimming officials after Tomita was caught red-handed stealing a camera belonging to a South Korean media organization at the Asian Games in Incheon.
Suzuki, speaking after arriving back in Japan from South Korea, met with Tomita at the athletes’ village after the incident and said the swimmer, who will not be called in for a fresh round of questioning, was “not in the right frame of mind.”
“It is simply a shame,” said Suzuki. “I would like to express my deepest apologies to the victim and everyone involved.”
JSF director Masafumi Izumi said, “Hopefully we can reach a conclusion on this (issue) as soon as possible.”
Tomita returned to Japan on Wednesday and has been suspended by the swimming club that he belongs to.
Tomita stole the camera, left at poolside in the press section by a South Korean reporter working for Yonhap News Agency, while he waited for a teammate to finish practice at Munhak Park Tae Hwan Aquatics Center on Sept. 25.
He admitted to the act after being questioned by Incheon police the following evening and was expelled from the country’s swimming team by the Japanese Olympic Committee.
He was ordered by police to remain in the athletes’ village after Japan’s swimming team returned home without him Saturday night, pending a decision by prosecutors on his summary indictment.
Tomita left the athletes’ village on Tuesday after paying a fine of 1 million won (about ¥100,000).
The 25-year-old, who won the men’s 200-meter breaststroke at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, came fourth in the 100 breaststroke final, a day before he stole the camera that was later discovered in the athletes’ village.