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Corporate ekiden champion Moeno Nakamura fails drug test

Kyodo

Women’s corporate ekiden road relay champion Moeno Nakamura has been suspended and her team stripped of its title after she tested positive for a banned substance, the Japan Anti-Doping Agency announced Thursday.

Nakamura, a former member of the Universal Entertainment team that won the Japan women’s corporate ekiden last November in Sendai, tested positive for the muscle-enhancing steroid Metanolon and has been banned for 15 months. Universal Entertainment hadn’t won a corporate title in five years.

According to an informed source, Nakamura, who has already retired from the sport, has denied any intentional use of a banned substance to enhance her performance.

Universal Entertainment has an outsourcing agreement with Sakura Athlete Club, where renowned marathon coach Yoshio Koide serves as the representative director. Koide is known for training Sydney Olympic marathon gold medalist Naoko Takahashi.