Junya Koga Takes First Post-Suspension JPN National Title


32-year-old Japanese Olympian Junya Koga served a 2-year ban after having tested positive for Ligandrol in March of 2018. The 2017 World Championships silver medalist’s 4-year ban was reduced down to 2 years due to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) concluding that contamination of supplements unknowingly ingested by Koga was most likely the cause for his positive test.

Koga’s ban was lifted as of May 14th of this year, meaning the 32-year-old backstroker is eligible to try for a spot on his nation’s team for the 2020 Games hosted in Tokyo.

On his journey to that end, Koga collected his first post-suspension national title, reaping gold in the men’s 50m back tonight at the 2020 Japan Short Course Championships.

Hitting a time of 23.38 in the final, Koga got to the wall first to claim gold ahead of backstroking mainstay Ryosuke Irie who settled for silver exactly half a second behind in 23.88.

For Koga, the man owns a career-quickest mark of 22.81 in this event, a time representing the Japanese national record he produced in the early rounds at the 2016 World Short Course Championships. There in Windsor, Canada, he would wind up taking the gold in a slightly slower 22.85.

Koga’s swim here is a confidence booster with a delayed Olympic Games less than one year away. We’ve documented how Koga dealt with mental health issues surrounding his positive anti-doping test, which you can read up on here.

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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