In August of 2019, 29-year-old Hiromasa Fujimori was handed a two-year ban for having tested positive for methylephedrine during the 2018 FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Hangzhou, China.
In his later appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Fujimori argued that the positive test came from the ingestion of ‘potentially contaminated rice balls’ the day before the test. The sole CAS arbitrator in the case concluded that this was not a plausible source of the contamination.
Fujimori’s two-year period of ineligibility was back-dated to January 1st, 2019, which means the man who finished 4th in the 200m IM at the 2016 Olympic Games can dive back into practice this month and actual racing come January 2021.
With this time frame in mind, Fujimori can now set his sights on a potential Olympic bid with the Games having been postponed to July 2021. Asian media is reporting the Fujimori has selected the Shizuoka New Year Festival Tournament at Fuji Swimming Pool for his return race, with the meet kicking off on January 10th.
Japan’s Olympic qualifying meet, the Japan Swim, is set for April, which means the man would have just a handful of months to whip his body back into racing shape to potentially vie for a roster spot for a home Games.
Even if Fujimori was in prime shape, he’d still be fighting against the likes of Kosuke Hagino, who has been getting faster and faster with every performance since returning to the sport from a 5-month hiatus in 2019. Juran Mizohata, Ippei Miyamoto, Yuuki Ikari are among other contenders who will be doing everything they can to claim the 2nd Olympic spot in the 200m IM and 400m IM after Daiya Seto automatically qualified for the Olympics by way of his double gold in the events at last year’s World Championships.