Japan judo head coach quits over "beating" scandal
Thursday, 31 January 2013
January 31- Ryuji Sonoda, the Japanese judo head coach that beat his athletes with wooden swords, has apologised for his actions and will submit his resignation from his position.
"I would like to deeply apologise for causing trouble to all the people concerned with what I have done and said," said Sonoda at a press conference in Tokyo today.
"I think it will be difficult for me to continue being engaged in the training programme any longer.
"I wish to submit my resignation."
Sonoda also admitted that the allegations from 15 Japanese judokas under his mentorship were "more or less true", and offered a deep bow of apology.
It was reported yesterday that the female judokas, some of which competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games, complained to the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) last month, claiming to have been regularly slapped and beaten with wooden swords by their coaches.
This statement from Sonoda comes as a surprise after he told Japanese news network Kyodo News yesterday: "Until now I have been doing things the way I saw fit, but I will mend the things that need fixing"
But the All Japan Judo Federatin (AJJF) accepted his resignation.
"We received information that Mr Sonoda, the head coach of the female national team, might have been physically bullying athletes," said its head Koshi Onozawa.
"Our executive office took this seriously and questioned both him and athletes, discovering the charges were largely true,"
Sonoda faced no punishment following the allegations, with the AJJF only sending a warning to coaches, saying that they "will face a harsher punishment if a similar incident happens in the future".
January 2013: Japanese Olympic judokas "beaten with sticks" by head coach