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Japan’s top Olympic swimmer Daiya Seto was barred from competitions and official training until the end of the year as punishment for an affair revealed by a tabloid.
The star athlete was filmed in September by a gossip magazine, which chronicled the movements of the married 26-year-old as he picked up his girlfriend, took her to a “love hotel,” then went look for her daughter at the nursery.
Seto apologized for his “irresponsible behavior” in a statement on Tuesday, saying he accepted the sanctions from the Japan Swimming Federation, which include events at home and abroad.
This means Seto – the reigning world champion in the 200m and 400m individual medley – will miss a domestic competition in December.
But he will still be allowed to compete in the Games next summer and will also be able to train privately, the swimming federation said.
Seto will also have to follow the Japanese Olympic Committee’s “integrity education” program, among others, according to his management.
“I intend to sincerely give my full attention to swimming… so that I can regain the trust of my family, whom I have deeply hurt by my irresponsible behavior, and regain the acceptance of my family as well as from all of you as a swimmer, ”Seto said in his statement.
The exposure of the tabloid and the punishment of the federation have become a hot topic of discussion on daytime TV talk shows, where Seto is not a regular topic.
Japanese swimming officials told local media that Seto’s actions violated the sportsmanship code and damaged the honor of the federation.
The Tokyo Olympics were originally scheduled for summer 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic has forced a one-year delay.
Officials have yet to announce exactly how the postponed event will play out and at what cost.
© 2020 AFP