Hammer blows that will cost him eight years of suspension: the Sports Arbitral Tribunal (TAS) made its decision this Friday concerning the Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, accused of having destroyed (not very delicately therefore) a sample during an unexpected doping control in September 2018. “Sun Yang is suspended eight years from the CAS decision”, the Lausanne-based court said in a statement, adding that “The athlete failed to demonstrate that he had valid justification for destroying his sample and evading control”. According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, the swimmer announced to appeal this suspension which he qualifies “Unfair” to the Swiss Federal Court, his last resort. “I firmly believe in my innocence. I will appeal so that as many people as possible know the truth ”, he added.
In November, in a rare public hearing (and broadcast via streaming) largely disturbed by translation problems, Sun Yang defended himself before the CAS by asserting that the doping control undergone was not valid, the persons responsible for the levy n ‘being “Unable to show documents proving their identity. So how could I allow them to take my sample? ” In its decision, the CAS retorts that “It is one thing, after providing a blood sample, to question the identity of the personnel responsible for the control, […] it is quite another to make it impossible to analyze samples after destroying them “. Triple Olympic champion (400m and 1,500m in London in 2012 and 200m in Rio in 2016), eleven times world champion and become an icon of his discipline in his country, Sun Yang, 28, could well be deprived of the Tokyo Games. Indeed, if the Chinese can request that his suspension not be executed until a final decision is rendered, it is ultimately the Swiss federal court that returns this decision.
“It pisses purple”
The incredible details of this destroyed sample case do not stop there, however: the case ended up before the CAS after appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The latter contested a decision by the International Swimming Federation, which had whitewashed the swimmer on a formal defect. Sun Yang was then able to take part in the Gwangju World Championships in South Korea in July 2019: in an atmosphere of general uneasiness, the Chinese won the gold medals in the 200 and 400 m freestyle. Australia’s longtime rival Mack Horton of Australia refused to step on the podium to receive his silver medal. The titles won on this occasion by Sun will not be “Retroactively withdrawn”, stated the CAS in its decision, the body having no evidence of doping in the tests carried out before and after this case.
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Suspected doping has surrounded Sun Yang for several years: the swimmer had already been suspended three months for a positive test for a stimulant (trimetazidine) in 2014. During the 2016 Olympic Games, lambasting the presence of doped swimmers on French Camille Lacourt podiums particularly questioned Sun Yang: “He pisses purple.”