Japanese Olympian and 2017 World Championships silver medalist Junya Koga has reportedly failed two drug tests in the month of March and subsequently removed from the Japanese national team. According to according to Agence France-Presse, Koga tested positive for traces of ‘banned muscle-building substances’, which the backstroking ace denied taking knowingly.
“I feel ashamed, miserable and frustrated,” Koga, 30, told the press today. “I couldn’t believe it — I was in shock, I thought it was some mistake.
“I didn’t know if it was real, or a dream. I never took the substance detected intentionally. But I’m responsible for proving that. To those who support me, I’m deeply sorry.”
The Japanese Swimming Federation’s documentation indicates Koga tested positive for traces of androgen receptor modulators LGD-4033 and SARM S-22 in an out-of-competition test in Tokyo. He now faces a possible 4-year ban which, with Koga already at 30 years of age, would rule him out of Tokyo 2020 and well beyond.
Koga has asked WADA to conduct a hearing to allow him to explain the circumstances surrounding his case, however, he is off the 2018 Asian Games roster to which he was just recently named. Additionally, the news comes on day 1 of the 2018 Japan Open, the 2nd national meet at which swimmers can qualify for the Pan Pacific Championships squad.
The former Club Wolverine Elite athlete’s positive test checks-in as at least the 2nd Japanese swimming-related positive so far this year. In January it was announced that a Japanese swimmer competing at an intercollegiate competition in Osaka Prefecture back in September tested positive for a banned substance. The swimmer involved has participated in national freestyle sprints at the high school level, but has not represented the nation at any senior international competitions.