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Disgraced badminton player Kenichi Tago fired; Kento Momota suspended from work

Kyodo

Kenichi Tago, who competed for Japan in badminton at the 2012 London Olympics, lost his job on Monday, when Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corp. announced that he has been fired.

Tago, who has admitted to gambling in casinos in Japan, where casino gambling is illegal, on Sunday received an indefinite suspension from the Nippon Badminton Association, which also removed him from its athletes register.

Japan badminton ace Kento Momota, who is ranked No. 2 in the world and also received an indefinite suspension that will prevent him from participating in this summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics, also works for NTT East and received a 30-day suspension from work. The company also said its men’s team will not be allowed to compete for six months.

Six other male athletes who gambled at casinos have received stern reprimands. Considering their responsibility in overseeing players, the badminton team’s director and manager will receive severe reprimands and be dismissed in order to facilitate reform of the team’s setup.

The badminton association has convened its ethics committee and it will educate players at national team training camps in order to prevent this from happening again.

According to the details provided by the company, Momota, at Tago’s invitation, gambled at casinos about six times from October 2014 to January 2015 and lost roughly ¥500,000 (about $4,600). Tago was a frequent gambler, losing about ¥10 million in about 60 trips to gambling establishments from October 2014 to January this year.

The association’s bans could be lifted after a number of years if they show sufficient remorse, according to NBA secretary general Kinji Zeniya, leaving the door open for Momota to compete at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.