Australian rider Jamie Kermond has been provisionally suspended from competition after testing positive for cocaine.
The 36-year-old was named to the Australian equestrian team and was due to make his first Olympic Games appearance in Tokyo.
Equestrian Australia released a statement on Wednesday confirming that Kermond returned an A sample positive for a cocaine metabolite.
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It came after a test conducted by Sport Integrity Australia on June 26.
“Equestrian Australia has provisionally suspended show jumping athlete Jamie Kermond under Australia’s National Anti-Doping Policy 2021,” the organization said in a statement.
âThe mandatory provisional suspension notice claims that Mr Kermond returned an A sample positive for a cocaine metabolite following a test performed by Sport Integrity Australia on June 26, 2021.
âCocaine is banned in competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Australian National Anti-Doping Policy 2021.
âMr. Kermond is prohibited from participating in any WADA compliant event, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, while the provisional suspension is in place.
âAs part of the anti-doping policy, Mr. Kermond now has the option of having his B sample analyzed.
“Equestrian Australia has spoken to Mr. Kermond and will be offered support services.”
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ALSO DOMINATED IN OPENING
Host nation Japan easily beat Australia as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics sports program finally kicked off with a softball match on Wednesday in the Fukushima disaster.
Japan’s 8-1 victory, in a sport returning to the Olympic fold for the first time since 2008, came two days before the opening ceremony of the pandemic-delayed Games.
Spectators were absent due to the strict coronavirus measures in place for an Olympics which faces widespread public opposition in Japan, where infections are on the rise.
Japan had to wait 13 years to defend the title won at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and dominated their Australian opponents in Fukushima, site of the nuclear disaster triggered by the tsunami in 2011.
Their toughest challenge will likely come from the United States, which will face Italy in Game 2 on Wednesday.
THE BOSS OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES REFUSES TO EXCLUDE THE CANCELLATION
The head of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee has refused to rule out a last-minute cancellation of the Games if coronavirus cases continue to be tricky.
During a press conference, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto was asked about the possibility of canceling the Games and admitted that he would continue to monitor the number of infections.
âWe will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases,â Muto said.
âWe have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will reconvene five-party talks. At this point, coronavirus cases may go up or down, so we’ll think about what to do when the situation arises. “
A Games spokesperson, however, issued a subsequent statement after Muto’s comments, reiterating: “We are 100% focused on making the Games successful.”
Currently, there have been 67 positive cases of Covid among those accredited for the Tokyo Olympics.
The chief of the Olympics, Thomas Bach, revealed “doubts” and “sleepless nights” on the Games postponed Tuesday.
Bach, speaking at the International Olympic Committee session in Tokyo, said the unprecedented step of postponing the Games “weighed on me” because it turned out to be more complicated than he thought.
âOver the past 15 months we have had to make many decisions for very uncertain reasons. We had doubts every day. We deliberated and discussed. There were sleepless nights, âBach said.
âIt also weighed on us, it weighed on me. But to get to this day today, we had to give confidence, we had to show a way out of this crisis, âhe added.
ALSO SPELL OF REPEATING THE HUMILIATION OF 21 YEARS AFTER A BOLD PREDICTION
It backfired dramatically over two decades ago. Once again, the US swim team has made a bold statement that is sure to energize the Australians.
Lilly King had claimed that American women would win all individual gold medals in women’s swimming in Tokyo.
The Australians have already made their statement in the pool, with Ariarne Titmus beating Katie Ledecky at the 2019 world championships while Kaylee McKeown claimed the 100m backstroke world record against Regan Smith last month.
Obviously, the message doesn’t get through and King’s outrageous comments trigger flashbacks to Gary Hall Jr’s vow to smash the Australian relay team like guitars in 2000.
That of course didn’t happen with Ian Thorpe, Michael Klim, Chris Fydler and Ashley Callus combining to challenge the American’s prediction with a world record victory.
They made sure to remind him too, playing air guitar on the pool deck after the victory.
United States women’s head coach Greg Meehan, however, is backing King.
âWhat I like about what Lilly said is who she is, it’s her personality, she’s competitive,â he said.
âShe’s someone we want in Team USA. She’s great in the relay and whatever the context, the reality is that the competitive spirit is what Team USA is all about.
â(When) we enter international competition, that competitive spirit is what drives us. And it doesn’t matter if it’s Australia or the GB team or China or Japan or whoever it is, it’s about being the best you can be as an American team.
$ 4 billion revolt amid widespread backlash
The backlash against Tokyo hosting the Olympic Games has reached a new level with the withdrawal of renowned sponsors.
Brewing company Asahi, electronics giant Fujitsu and telecommunications provider NTT have previously said they will not be sending senior executives to the Games while Panasonic announced the same on Friday.
Now, main sponsor Toyota has also confirmed that it will not be launching an Olympics-related brand campaign.
Reports claim corporate sponsorship for the Games is worth $ 4 billion.
Preparing for the Opening Ceremony was exceptionally difficult with Tokyo still in a state of emergency and public opinion has consistently opposed the Games, which will be held largely without spectators.
The latest Asahi Shimbun newspaper poll found that a majority of respondents, 55 percent, were against hosting the Games this summer, with 33 percent in favor.
FOOTBALL COACH FEARS ERIKSEN’S REPEAT
The South African Olympic football coach fears the health of his players may be at risk after being forced to self-isolate at the Tokyo Games, citing Christian Eriksen’s traumatic ordeal at Euro 2020.
The team enter their opener against Japan on Thursday in dismay after two players and a video analyst tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving at the Olympic Village.
Twenty-one members of the squad’s contingent were named close contacts on Monday, causing them to miss two training sessions as they isolated themselves in their rooms.
Coach David Notoane fears that the lack of time to acclimatize in a hot and scorching Tokyo could put his players at risk.
He cited the example of Danish midfielder Eriksen, who collapsed at the European Championship last month after suffering cardiac arrest before being resuscitated.
“You saw what happened at Euro 2020 when Denmark played,” Notoane said on Tuesday.
“One can only hope and pray that with the players who have been inactive for a long time since we arrived here, we are not going through something like this.”
âPerhaps we did not acclimatize sufficiently to these conditions as we would have liked,â he added.
Athletes designated as close contacts at the Games must adhere to strict guidelines to be allowed to train, including staying in their rooms and using special transportation.
But players will be eligible to play on Thursday if they test negative for the virus six hours before the game.
Notoane said he has 17 players at his disposal and is grateful the game has not been called off.
âThe worst-case scenario could have been that we were suspended from the tournament, or that we didn’t have enough team members to participate in the tournament,â he said.
So far, five people have tested positive in the Olympic Village, raising fears that the influx of thousands of athletes, officials and media will add to a spike in cases in Japan.
But Japanese defender Maya Yoshida was not worried about facing the South Africans in their tournament opener.
âI’ve played for the past year in a controlled environment where anyone who tested positive couldn’t play,â said the Sampdoria defender.
âPersonally, I don’t see any problem playing in this environment. We have restrictions in the hotels to make sure we are safe so personally I don’t feel unsafe.
BUSTED ANTI-SEX BED MYTH
There has been a rumor that just won’t go away around Athlete Village in Tokyo … until now.
Social media has been on fire over the past week with photos of the village beds, which are said to be made of rather fragile cardboard.
The reason was believed to discourage athletes from being intimate with each other, as the beds weren’t able to support more than one body.
But Australian hockey players were quick to test this theory.
Hockeyroos goalie Rachael Lynch posted photos of herself and several teammates sitting on one of the beds on Twitter, clearly demonstrating that they are capable of supporting a significant amount of weight.
âAfter many questions about our cardboard beds, we thought we should put them to the test,â Lynch wrote with a blinking emoji included.
“Can confirm that they are strong enough for the activities!” “