Sex scandal rocks Olympic swimming
Four-time world champion swimmer Daiya Seto has been axed as Japan's captain for the Tokyo Olympics after admitting to having an affair.
The Japan Swimming Federation found his actions to be against their 'sportsmanlike conduct standards' and have banned him for a year.
The federation handed down the suspension after an extraordinary meeting late on Tuesday.
But it is backdated, and he will be eligible for next year's Olympics.
Seto, the reigning world champion in the men's 200 and 400m individual medley, resigned as captain after admitting the extramarital affair.
He is married to fellow swimmer Yuka Mabuchi, and they have two daughters together.
Speaking about the ban, Seto, who won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016, said: "How can I apologise? I have been asking myself if I can.
"But I think my apology is to continue swimming, restoring the trust of my family, who have been deeply hurt by my irresponsible behaviour.
"I would like to seriously face swimming with the determination to start over so that my family and everyone will recognise me as a swimmer again."
"I'm really sorry", he added.
The affair came to light after a magazine in Japan published a story about him meeting with a woman in a hotel.
The scandal appears to have tarnished Seto's reputation and he has already agreed to sever ties with sponsor All Nippon Airways, his country's national airline.
The 26-year-old, who started swimming when he was five, won gold medals at the 2012, 2014 and 2016 World Short Course Championships.
He holds the short course world records in the 200m butterfly and the 400m individual medley.
Japanese sporting officials have traditionally acted swiftly and strictly when athletes tarnish the country's honour.
In 2014, world shortcourse breastroke champion Naoya Tomita was suspended for 17 months after he was caught stealing a working photographer's camera from the pool deck at the Asian Games.
At the same event four years later, four members of Japan's basketball team were sent home and suspended for a year after checking into a hotel with prostitutes.
Badminton player Kenichi Tago was kicked off the 2016 Olympic team after losing nearly $100,000 at illegal casinos.
- The Sun
Originally published as Sex scandal rocks Olympic swimming