By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) – Out-of-competition anti-doping procedures need tightening up, but the stance of Chinese swimming champion Sun Yang will not wash, Olympic gold medallist Adam Peaty said on Friday.
Sun, a triple Olympic freestyle champion, told an appeal hearing in Switzerland last week that anti-doping officials who turned up at his home in China in 2018 could not prove their identity.
A report by governing body FINA, who have cleared him of wrongdoing, said Sun questioned their credentials before members of his entourage smashed with a hammer vials containing his blood samples.
The 27-year-old would be ruled out of next year’s Tokyo Olympics if he loses the appeal brought by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
“Obviously things need tightening up. Over the last few years you hear stories, it does need tightening up,” Peaty told Reuters ahead of an International Swimming League (ISL) meet in London.
“But at the same time, why would you smash a vial? For me, you just wouldn’t do that.
“You’d put it on your comments section, which is what it’s for, and say they didn’t have the right ID or they didn’t have this right… you wouldn’t just go out and smash a vial.”
Peaty, world record holder and 100m breaststroke gold medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said existing procedures already allowed athletes to highlight irregularities.
“It doesn’t matter about tightening up anything, that comment section is that,” he added.
“I’d still give it (the sample) because I’m a clean athlete. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with that.”
China’s Xinhua news agency reported this week that one of the three testers in Sun Yang’s case was a construction worker who had been asked along as a chaperone by a female former classmate.
The main role of a chaperone is to observe the athlete passing urine.
The unnamed man was quoted as saying he had been excited to meet the swimmer and took some pictures of him with his cellphone before Sun asked for his ID card.
Sun competed at this year’s world championships in South Korea under the shadow of the appeal and three rivals snubbed him after races.
Sun said, however, that he had acted in the “interests of all athletes” and been subjected to “insults and slander”.
Peaty described that as “an absolute joke” in comments to the Australian newspaper.
“If you went around each athlete in each country and asked them ‘Would you support Sun Yang in this current situation?’ I’m pretty sure 95 or 99% would say ‘absolutely no way’,” said the Briton.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)