The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has announced that a retrial for controversial Chinese swim star Sun Yang is set for next week. The retrial is in regards to an incident with a doping collection agent in September of 2018. Sun Yang was originally found guilty by CAS, and handed an 8-year ban, which Yang appealed to the Swiss Tribunal. The Swiss Tribunal then overturned the CAS ruling on the basis of racist tweets that were sent by the president of the CAS panel.
The retrial has been set for May 25-27, and will be a private hearing, conducted through video, rather than in-person. This differs substantially from the original trial, which was held on one day, and was open to the public.
Most recently, Sun Yang did not compete at the Chinese National Championships at the beginning of the month. Despite missing the Olympic qualifying meet, he could still be added to the Chinese Olympic roster at a later date, and whether or not that occurs is likely dependent on the outcome of the retrial. Sun Yang is the World Record holder in the men’s LCM 1500 free, and has won 3 Olympic Gold medals for China over his career.
Here’s a summarized timeline of events surrounding the case:
- September 2018: Sun challenges authorization of doping control agents during test, ending with a vial of his blood being smashed
- January 2019: an independent anti-doping panel rules in Sun’s favor, leading FINA (the international governing body for swimming) to not issue a sanction against Sun
- March 2019: WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) appeals that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport
- November 2019: CAS hears the case in a fully-public hearing marred by translation issues. The full 11-hour hearing is live-streamed online.
- February 2020: The three-person CAS panel rules against Sun, banning him for eight years.
- July 2020: Sun files two appeals with the Swiss Federal Tribunal, hoping to either have his ban overturned or revised.
- December 2020: The Swiss Federal Tribunal overturns the ban, sending the case back to CAS for a second hearing. The decision centers around the first panel’s president, who tweeted racist comments about China on social media.
- May 2021: Yang does not compete at the Chinese National Championships, amid uncertainty of the outcome of his CAS retrial.