Takeharu Fujimori Handed 4-Month Ban By Japan Anti-Doping Agency

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Takeharu Fujimori of Japan was handed a four-month doping suspension for Osterin. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Japanese swimmer Takeharu Fujimori, 25, was handed a four-month suspension by the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA) for testing positive for Osterin, a banned drug that has muscle strengthening effects. Fujimori failed the test at a domestic competition in May.

Fujimori had initially been suspended five months by JADA, but it was reduced to four months after Fujimori consulted with his team and trainer, claiming the supplements he took were a domestic product and were considered to be “relatively low risk.” His ban began July 26, 2019 and will expire at the end of this month.

Takeharu used the supplements he received from Ototoshi before the practice and competition to widen blood vessels and improve blood flow, but prohibited substances were mixed in the supplements, per JADA.

Takeharu is not to be confused with his brother Hiromasa Fujimori, who was fourth in the 200 IM at the 2016 Olympic Games, missing out on a medal by 0.16 seconds. Hiromasa had been sanctioned in January 2019 with a two-year suspension for testing positive for Methylephedrine at the extremely low estimated concentration of 16 picograms/mL at the 2018 World Short Course Championships in China. His suspension will cease January 1, 2021 and he will not be able to swim at the 2020 Japanese Olympic Trials.

Takeharu Fujimori commented through his agent and said, “I never imagined that a positive reaction would be caused by mixing in a supplement that had been explained to be safe.” Fujimori was ineligible to swim in the 2019 World Championships this year but was ranked 18th in the world and third in Japan in the 400 IM (4:13.90) and 34th in the world and sixth in Japan this year in the 200 IM (1:59.36).

With his short sentence, Fujimori will be eligible to swim at the 2020 Japanese Olympic Trials in Tokyo and will have a chance to make his first Olympic team. But the IM scene in Japan is a little crowded heading into 2020 with the presence of double IM World champion Daiya Seto and reigning 400 IM Olympic champion Kosuke Hagino leading the charge. Seto is in the shape of his life heading into next year while Hagino is getting back on track after sitting out competition this year.