June 19 - Japanese Olympic gold medallist Koji Murofushi was the "victim of an overzealous" National Olympic Committee, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) revealed today on why it upheld the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to disqualify him from a place on its Athletes' Commission.
The Athens 2004 hammer gold medallist and former world champion (pictured top) had his election blocked after allegedly breaching the IOC's strict campaign rules ahead of the election at London 2012, where 38-year-old Murofushi also won a bronze medal.
However, CAS has now said, that although the athlete is "responsible for a series of breaches", it was the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) that was to blame for his ban.
"The panel concludes to uphold the decision of the [IOC] EB [Executive Board] and in turn dismisses the appeal," read a statement from the Swiss body.
"Having said this, the panel would like to add that - at least to a significant extent - the candidate was a victim of an overzealous NOC and that his own actions were neither motivated by a desire to cheat nor can they be equated to dishonesty."
It added that Murofushi's reputation and integrity as a sportsman "remain completely untarnished".
Murofushi had garnered enough votes to secure a seat on the Athletes' Commission in the election, but the result was ultimately declared void after he was accused of breaking rules that prohibit giving gifts, putting up posters and campaigning in the athletes' dining hall.
Furthermore, the JOC was issued with a warning from the IOC for distributing a Japanese language handbook that had included a phrase urging its athletes competing at London 2012 to vote for Murofushi.
Today's report is not likely to reflect well on Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, where they are facing rivals Istanbul and Madrid.
Japan currently only has one IOC member - Tsunekazu Takeda, the President of the JOC and Tokyo 2020, who was only elected in July - and they were desperate to ensure Murofushi was elected to give them more opportunities to lobby internationally on behalf of Tokyo's bid.
The JOC said it had learned from the incident.
"We fully acknowledge and respect the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and are also encouraged that Koji Murofushi's reputation and integrity remain untarnished," a JOC spokeperson told insidethegames.
"The Japanese Olympic Committee remains loyal to the values of the Olympic Movement, and we will use the knowledge we have gained throughout the process for future activities related to the International Olympic Committee's Athletes' Commission."
Taiwanese Athens 2004 taekwondo gold medallist Mu-yen Chu, who had also polled enough votes to win a seat on the commission, was disqualified as well after being accused of handing out lollipops to promote his candidature.
Similarly, his CAS appeal was rejected last month.
Following the controversial election, it was announced that Slovak skeet shooter Danka Barteková, Australian rower James Tomkins, swimmer Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe and French canoeist Tony Estanguet had won places on the IOC athletes' commission.
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