Japan 'Sorry' for Swimmer's Theft at Asian Games

      September 29, 2014 13:22

      Naoya Tomita

      The chief of the Japanese delegation to the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon on Sunday bowed to reporters and apologized for the bizarre theft of an expensive camera from a reporter by a Japanese swimmer.

      Tsuyoshi Aoki, the vice president of the Japan Swimming Federation, apologized after Naoya Tomita (25) was caught putting the camera of a Korean journalist in his bag at the aquatics center on Thursday .

      "I can't recall anything like this ever happening before with a Japanese athlete at the Asian Games and we offer our deep apologies," Aoki said.

      Tomita was in the stands cheering his teammates on Thursday. He has been charged with theft after stealing a Canon camera worth around W8 million (US$1=W1,045) that sat unattended on the press booth.

      When the theft was reported, police checked CCTV footage and spotted Tomita leaving the aquatic center with the camera body after detaching the telephoto lens. He was arrested during training at on Friday evening and the stolen camera was recovered from his room.

      Police quoted Tomita as saying he "wanted the camera badly."

      Tomita won a gold medal in the men's 200-m breaststroke in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou. In the national tryout in the following year, he beat Japanese swimming hero Kosuke Kitajima to the national title.

      However, a long slump followed, and he finished fourth in 100-m and did not advance to the final in 50-m breaststroke in Incheon.

      The story of Tomita's theft has made big headlines in Japan and prompted expressions of disgust and patriotic shame in the Twittersphere there.

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