Japanese swimmer Tomita denies stealing camera at Asian Games

Japanese swimmer Naoya Tomita (left) speaks to the press as he denied he had stolen a journalist's camera at the Asian Games.



A Japanese swimmer suspended for stealing a camera at the Asian Games has denied the allegations, claiming someone placed the camera in his gym bag.

Naoya Tomita initially admitted to stealing a camera left poolside by a South Korean reporter on Sept. 25 at the games in Incheon, South Korea.

But on Thursday, over six weeks after the event, Tomita said an "unknown man" put the camera in his bag and that he didn’t realize what it was until he got back to the athletes’ village.

"The truth is I didn’t do it," the 25-year-old Tomita said at a press conference where he was accompanied by his lawyer.

Asked why he admitted to stealing the camera to South Korean police, Tomita said he was told "If I admitted it, the punishment would be light and it wouldn’t become a serious matter."

Tomita said because the camera did not have a lens, he thought it might be broken and intended to leave it in the athletes’ village when he returned to Japan.

The Japan Swimming Federation has suspended Tomita until March 31, 2016.