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Top Japanese badminton player out of Olympics over gambling

Europe
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Tokyo (dpa) - A Japanese badminton star has been denied a spot for this summer‘s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after he admitted gambling at an illegal casino, officials said Sunday.

Kento Momota will not be nominated for Japan‘s team by the Nippon Badminton Association (NBA) which suspended him indefinitely.

Momota apologized at a news conference Friday, saying he had gambled six times at a casino in Tokyo, which was raided by police in April and May and has since closed.

Momota, who is second in the world rankings, became the first Japanese man to win a medal in a world badminton championships singles competition when he took bronze in Jakarta in August.

Momota‘s teammate Kenichi Tago, a frequent gambler, who lost in the first round in the 2012 London Games, also apologized for having gambled at illegal casions.

The association deregistered Tago indefinitely in a heavier punishment.

The bans on the two could be lifted if they show sufficient remorse, according to NBA secretary general Kinji Zeniya, leaving the door open for Momota to compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

In Japan, people found guilty of gambling can be given up to three years in prison.

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