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Wednesday, 9th November 2011
In Japan Sports News, Sports,

Sumo star warned over drug injections

The first Czech sumo wrestler to join the sport professionally in Japan has been issued an official warning over the use of drug injections by the Japan Sumo Association (JSA).

Takanoyama Shuntaro was criticised for injecting himself with insulin in an effort bulk up for the physically intensive game, the Mainichi Daily reported.

An investigation into the matter was launched on October 27th after the JSA decided to tackle allegations of the abuse raised by a magazine report.

The wrestler subsequently admitted the offence, which is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Insulin is typically used by diabetes patients to control their blood sugar levels, however it can be attractive to sumo competitors because it increases appetite and boosts muscles.

The public relations director for the JSA told the news provider: "I suppose he heard about it from his master and thought, 'if only I could gain weight'."

Although it is not clear at what time during his career Takanoyama was injecting insulin into his system, it was suggested he quit the practice because he was not seeing any results.

Some may wonder why the star was merely issued a warning and not a more severe punishment, however, the JSA has no guidelines about the practice, thus reducing its ability to penalise players who indulge in it.

Its only stipulations are that injecting drugs into the body is self-injurious, while the use of another person's medication is unethical.

An official from the ministry of education, culture, sports, science and technology highlighted the problem this kind of behaviour poses to the sport.

They told the Mainichi Daily: "With grand sumo already having been damaged by gambling on baseball games and bout-rigging, it's a terrible situation for sumo with it image being injured even more."

Twenty-eight-year-old Takanoyama, who weighs little more than 15 stone, is scheduled to compete in the Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka this month.

Posted by Mark Smith  

Related news stories:
Pilot shows there's life after sumo (16th October 2008)
Top Japan sumo wrestler retires (6th October 2008)
Yokozuna Asashoryu suffers first-day sumo defeat (12th May 2008)
Former sumo star sports police badge (13th September 2011)