By Peter Rutherford
GWANGJU, South Korea (Reuters) – Triple Olympic champion Sun Yang has asked sport’s highest tribunal to hold a public hearing of his doping case in order to give him the chance to clear his name, lawyers for the Chinese swimmer have said.
Sun, currently in South Korea to compete at the world championships, was cleared by a FINA doping panel of breaching the governing body’s rules earlier this year.
However, the World Anti-Doping Agency is seeking to overturn the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which will hear the case in September.
Australia’s Daily Telegraph last Sunday posted a 59-page report by the FINA panel following a hearing at which Sun admitted to refusing to comply with an out-of-competition test because of his doubts over testers’ accreditation.
In a statement, Sun’s lawyers said he was being tried by the media and that he had “requested CAS to hold a public hearing of his case in September 2019 in order to be fully transparent and to clear his name”.
Sun had been cooperating fully during the doping test but when an issue arose over accreditation he asked for replacement testing officers to be sent, a request that was denied, the statement said.
“The officers then decided to stop the testing and gave the blood samples back to Sun Yang,” it added.
The report, however, said the testers had taken blood samples from Sun while at the clubhouse of his residence compound but the swimmer and his entourage then refused to let them depart with the samples during a tense stand-off.
Sun, who is looking to add to his haul of nine world titles in Gwangju, also served a three-month suspension for testing positive to a banned substance in 2014, though that sanction was not revealed until months after its expiry.
The athlete said he was taking medication for a heart condition.
A second doping violation would inevitably bring a harsher sanction and could rule him out of next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)