(Reuters) – China’s Olympic and world champion swimmer Sun Yang has said public opinion has been “distorting” the facts surrounding his controversial drug test in Shanghai last year and made his training and life intolerable.
The 27-year-old faces a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing over anti-doping violations involving a test at his residence compound last September.
Documents leaked to the media revealed Sun questioned the credentials of the testers before members of his entourage smashed the vials containing his blood samples with a hammer.
Sun, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, said on social media that his actions during the botched test were all carried out under the guidance of his team, medical personnel and leaders of the provincial anti-doping centre.
“However, public opinion has been distorting the facts to varying degrees,” Sun said on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.
“My training and life have been greatly troubled, far beyond the threshold of tolerance.”
Sun, who won the 200 and 400 metres freestyle titles at Gwangju, bringing his world championships haul to 11, said he had been tested hundreds of times according to “strict” anti-doping rules and always cooperated with officials.
He added that he was unable to go public with the truth but said: “Fortunately, the surveillance cameras have recorded everything, otherwise I won’t be able to defend myself against irresponsible accusations.”
Sun was cleared of wrongdoing by a doping panel convened by swimming’s global governing body FINA but the World Anti-Doping Agency appealed to CAS.
CAS said last week it would hold the case in public in a break from usual procedure.
Sun served a three-month doping suspension in 2014 for taking the stimulant trimetazidine, which he said he took to treat a heart condition.
A second doping violation would inevitably bring a harsher sanction and could rule him out of next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
He competed at the world championships in South Korea under the shadow of the WADA appeal and three rivals snubbed him after races, by either refusing to shake his hand or join him on the podium.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)