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Asian Games diary: Japan send home players for night with women

August 20, 2018 13:24 IST

Asian Games

IMAGE: Picture for representational purpose only. Photograph: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

Japan have sent home four players from their Asian Games basketball team for spending the night with women in a Jakarta hotel, the head of the delegation Yasuhiro Yamashita said on Monday.

The players left the athletes' village following their game against Qatar on Thursday to eat at a restaurant where they met a Japanese-speaking local, who told them about a bar where they could meet women, Yamashita told a news conference.

 

The quartet, who were wearing their team uniforms, spent a couple of hours at the bar before checking into a hotel with four women, staying there until Friday morning, he added.

Officials named the players as Takuya Hashimoto, Keita Imamura, Yuya Nagayoshi and Takuma Sato.

"The Japan National Olympic Committee decided to withdraw their accreditation and send them back to Japan early this morning," Yamashita said.

"We have a specific disciplinary code, it's a clear breach of the code of conduct for the Japanese delegation. The athletes should be role models of society, not only in the sporting venues but also on other occasions."

Yamashita said the Japanese Olympic Committee took the issue of discipline in their team very seriously.

"A day after our arrival here the Chef de Mission and other top officials told the athletes that they had to be role models in Jakarta," he said.

"It's disappointing that after that instruction and encouragement, this kind of issue happened, I deeply apologise to the Japanese people as the head of the delegation."

Japan, who won basketball bronze at the last Asian Games four years ago, beat Qatar 82-71 in their second game in Jakarta and top qualifying Group C. Their next match is against Hong Kong on Wednesday.

"The players flew back home at their own expense," Yamashita added. "The remaining eight players, officials and coaches will stay here to continue to play for the rest of the competition."

The next Olympics will be hosted by Japan in Tokyo in 2020.

Alcohol-free Games Village leave officials high and dry

The 'no alcohol' policy at the Asian Games Village has not gone down well with the coaches and officials travelling with the athletes.

Some have even tried to smuggle alcohol into the Village but with little success. An alcohol-free zone is not a surprise considering Indonesia banned liquor sale from departmental stores in 2015, barring the tourist-heavy Bali province. Indonesia also has the largest Muslim population in the world.

"Only yesterday I saw whiskey bottles lying with the security guards at the Games Village. They are very strict about it. Though athletes don't care much about the lack of alcohol, it is very normal to find a beer in the international zone of any major multi-sporting event including the Commonwealth Games this year," a coach of the Indian contingent said.

While alcohol is readily available in pubs and restaurants in co-host Jakarta, it is tough to find even a mild beer in the port city of Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra province.

For those wanting to down a quick pint, the only way left is to step out of the sprawling Jakabaring Sport City, housing the Games' venues as well the accommodation. The hotels, where many technical officials are put up, are serving alcohol but at a higher price.

"We go out sometimes for a drink but it is quite a task since the Village is cut off from the city," said another official staying at the Village.

Complaints are also piling up over the size of the accommodation provided at the Village, which can house 3,000 athletes and officials

Athletes and officials say the rooms are small and claustrophobic.

"The rooms everywhere are basic but talking about this place, I don't think I have stayedin a Games Village which has smaller rooms than here. There is no place to even keep a suitcase. There is hardly space to take a shower in the bathroom," said a member of the Indian shooting team.

Another athlete said the food quality was good at the start of the Games but has deteriorated since then.

"Nobody is asking for a five-star facility but there should be some space to keep your belongings," said the athlete.

Each room has three beds and a small bathroom.

Shooting, tennis, rowing, canoeing, beach volleyball, sports climbing and sepaktakraw are among the sports staged in Palembang.

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