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World record holder banned from racewalking for padding travel expenses

Yusuke Suzuki

Japanese racewalker Yusuke Suzuki has been suspended from competition for filing a fraudulent application to the Japan Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF) for some 300,000 yen in athlete performance enhancement funds to cover travel expenses for medical treatment, it has emerged.

    Suzuki, 30, the world record holder in the men's 20-kilometer racewalk, is banned from competition until March 31, with his JAAF membership suspended for six months from Oct. 1 last year.

    According to Fujitsu Ltd., to which Suzuki belongs, he was designated a top-ranked "gold athlete" by the association in fiscal 2016, and was thus eligible for funds of up to 10 million yen a year.

    When applying for travel expenses for visiting a clinic in Tokyo on a total of 150 occasions between October 2016 and March 2017, he claimed that he had commuted from his dormitory in the city of Chiba, though he had actually traveled from a relative's home in the capital. In addition, on eight occasions he applied for funds to cover the cost of medical treatments he never underwent.

    Shortly after setting the world record in the men's 20-kilometer racewalk in March 2015, Suzuki developed osteitis pubis, a type of joint inflammation. He has been rehabilitating since dropping out of a race at the World Championships in Athletics held in Beijing in August that year.

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