According to several media accounts, Japanese swimmer Naoya Tomita has been expelled from the Asian Games after allegedly admitting to stealing a South Korean journalist’s camera at the Incheon pool.
The reports indicate that on Friday evening the Incheon police informed the Japanese swimming delegation that Tomita was suspected of having committed the theft the previous afternoon. A surveillance tape allegedly shows Tomita taking the telephoto lens off, then placing the $7500 camera in his bag.
Tsuyoshi Aoki, head of the Japanese swimming team, gave a press conference on Saturday in which he apologized for Tomita’s conduct and said that the Japanese delegation is taking this incident very seriously. He said that the alleged theft took place after Tomita had finished a workout but was still waiting for a friend to finish.
Japan Swimming Federation director Masafumi Izumi has apparently said he was shocked by the incident and promised harsh punishment. To begin with, Tomita’s name was taken off the Japanese roster and he was allegedly told to return to Japan at his own expense. It is said Tomita could face criminal charges for the alleged theft.
Tomita, who is 25, won a gold medal in the 200m breast at the2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. He finished fourth in the 100 breast in Incheon and did not make finals in the 50.