We reported on August 2nd that Japanese Olympian Junya Koga‘s 2-year suspension for having tested positive for Ligandrol was indeed ratified by the Court Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but now the 31-year-old has spoken out about his ordeal.
Despite the 2017 World Championships medalist’s ban not being lifted until after the 2020 Japanese Olympic Trials, rendering him out of Tokyo next year, the once Wolverine Elite-trained backstroking ace says he is not retiring.
“I will not be able to participate in the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games. However, my goal is to participate in the World Champisihsp in Fukuoka, Japan in 2021 and the Asian Championships in 2022, which I did not participate last year, and to win medals in these Champiosiyps,” reads his personal blog entry posted today, August 5th.
Koga’s post also reveals the challenge he faced in proving the banned substance was taken inadvertently, with Koga having refuting knowingly taking the substance since the positive test was first brought to light.
“The past year has been extremely challenging for me, both as an athlete and as an individual. Being faced with a four-year suspension initially, I felt that my only choice was retiring from swimming as an athlete. However, I knew that I did not want to betray myself and the people that continued to believe in me and therefore I was determined to prove that I never intentionally ingested those substances. During the course of the proceedings, I began to think that I would not end my career as an athlete if I could prove that I never intentionally ingested those substances. And now that the suspension period has been reduced to two years, I have officially decided to return as an athlete and to continue my career. ”
Koga also states that he will actively take part in anti-doping movements.
“Going forward, I will participate in further activities for anti-doping movements in order to help other athletes understand necessary actions to be taken and the exact knowledge to be known for anti-doping. I want to share the importance and the core value of anti-doping movements with more athletes, and reduce the number of athletes put in the same situation as myself by raising their awareness through this experience.”
Koga is a 3-time medalist at the Long Course World Championships most recently claiming 50m back silver in 2017 in Budapest. He is also a 3-time Asian Games gold medalist in the 50m backstroke.