February 20, 2010 / 11:08 AM / in 8 years

Japan's synchronised swimmers face nail art ban

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s synchronised swimmers can keep their nose pegs and sparkly costumes but will be banned from having brightly decorated fingernails or dying their hair.

<p>Japan's team performs at the start of their synchronised swimming team technical routine at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 22, 2008. REUTERS/Issei Kato</p>

Japanese officials have expanded their ban on swimmers to synchronised and diving disciplines under a policy that formally begins on April 1, local media reported on Saturday.

Swimmers could face lifetime bans if they turn up for competitions with dyed hair, elaborately painted nails or pierced ears.

The tough measures were drafted last year to prevent the country’s athletes breaching discipline and looking more like rock stars than swimmers.

Male and female swimmers caught drinking alcohol or sneaking into each others rooms at Japanese training camp will also find themselves in hot water.

The national soccer team were recently labelled a “shambles” by the president of the Japan Football Association for not standing to attention during the national anthem.

A top Japanese snowboarder was the subject of a media firestorm for wearing the national tracksuit in a hip-hop style at the Vancouver Olympics in another breach of protocol.

Reporting by Alastair Himmer; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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