JOC to investigate violence in judo, other sports

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In this photo taken in June 2012, Ryuji Sonoda, center, coaches female judo wrestlers during a training camp in Ureshino city, southwestern Japan. Japan’s Judo Federation said Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 that head coach Sonoda used violence against athletes at the camp prior to the London Olympics. The federation’s confirmation Wednesday of Sonoda’s actions comes a day after it was revealed 15 female judo wrestlers sent a letter to the Japanese Olympic Committee at the end of 2012 complaining they had been subjected to harassment and physical violence by Sonoda at a pre-Olympic training camp, Kyodo news agency reported. AP

TOKYO— The Japanese Olympic Committee says it will launch an investigation into the alleged abuse of elite female judo competitors by former national coach Ryuji Sonoda.

The JOC issued a statement on Friday saying it found the “inappropriate behaviors conducted by a former Japanese national judo coach most regrettable. Violence has no place in sport and directly contradicts the values of the Olympic movement.”

Sonoda, a former world gold medalist in the men’s 60-kilogram division, resigned Thursday after it was revealed that 15 top female judoka accused him and other coaching staff of harassment and physical violence during training before the London Olympics.

The JOC also said it would investigate every other national sports federation, aiming to eliminate similar coaching abuses as Japan vies to bring the 2020 Games to Tokyo.

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