Star swimmer pulled from games

CHINESE swimmer Sun Yang (孫楊) was banned for eight years and will miss the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (東京奧運) because he broke anti-doping rules in a late-night incident in which a blood sample container was smashed with a hammer.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) found the three-time Olympic champion guilty of refusing to cooperate with sample collectors during a visit to his home in September 2018 that turned confrontational.

In a rare hearing in open court last November, evidence was presented of how a security guard, instructed by Sun’s mother, broke the casing around a vial of Sun’s blood, while the swimmer lit the early-hours scene with his mobile phone.

“The athlete failed to establish that he had a compelling justification to destroy his sample collection containers and forego the doping control when, in his opinion, the collection protocol was not in compliance,” the CAS panel of three judges agreed in a unanimous verdict.

A 10-hour hearing broadcast on the court’s website showed Sun to be evasive at times under questioning hampered by severe translation issues between Chinese and English.

The two-metre Sun, the first Chinese swimmer to win Olympic gold, has long been a polarising figure in the pool.

Rivals branded him a drug cheat at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro (里約熱內盧) Olympics. Now banned until February 2028, the 28-year-old Sun cannot defend his 200-metre freestyle title in Tokyo.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 10 March 2020)


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