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Gymnastics officials handed suspension over alleged harassment

Kyodo

Japan’s gymnastics governing body on Monday handed two senior officials a temporary suspension over their alleged harassment of an Olympic gymnast.

The Japan Gymnastics Association said Chieko Tsukahara and her husband Mitsuo will be suspended from their duties until an independent committee finishes investigating the allegation by 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympian Sae Miyakawa.

The governing body added that Chieko Tsukahara, who is in charge of training the women’s national team, will not take part in her duties when the world championships kick off in October in Doha.

Mitsuo Tsukahara, who captured five gold medals at Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Munich, and Montreal, is a vice chairman of the organization.

An independent committee consisting of five lawyers has been formed to look into the allegation after Miyakawa said she was subjected to power harassment by the Tsukaharas. The accusations came in the wake of the JGA’s decision to suspended Miyakawa’s coach, Yuto Hayami, after the 34-year-old was reported for violent conduct by a whistleblower in July.

Miyakawa claimed in August that Chieko Tsukahara said she could lose her spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after she had initially refused to join the association’s training project.

The two officials have denied the allegation made by the 19-year-old gymnast but admitted some of their words and actions may have been inappropriate. They have said they will consider whether to resign after seeing the outcome of the investigation.

The independent committee has not provided a concrete deadline to deliver its findings.