The Chinese Swimming Association has issued a statement of support backing star swimmer Sun Yang in claiming defamation and threatening a lawsuit aimed at The Sunday Times after the UK-based paper reported he smashed an out-of-competition blood test sample Sunday.
The Times‘ story alleges that Sun’s mother, after he broke a number of testing protocols, ordered security guards to destroy a vial of his blood taken in a nearby clubhouse, according to witnesses. Dr. Ba Zhen, who supports Sun (and who like Sun has a history with doping), reportedly contacted Dr. Han Zhaoqi, the head of the Zhejiang Anti-Doping Center. Han told FINA that the nurse didn’t have the necessary paperwork, and at a January 3rd hearing, the FINA panel ruled in Sun’s favor, stating that they would “never know” what had happened.
The World Anti-Doping Association, however, has been claimed to be ‘furious’ over the ruling, and are mulling an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. According to WADA rules, WADA has 21 days following “the last day on which any other party in the case could have appealed” or 21 days “after WADA’s receipt of the complete file relating to the decision.” With athletes or national anti-doping organizations themselves having a 21-day appeal period, that would give WADA until February 14th to appeal the decision of the FINA panel.
Sun’s lawyer Zhang Qihuai issued a statement to Xinhua news, threatening to sue The Sunday Times over defamation: “We reserve the right to file a lawsuit against the relevant international media which reports the incident,” the statement read. It also accused The Times of reporting the news with a “malign intention” and “dubious motives,” and “infringing upon Sun’s privacy and reputation.”
The CSA backed Sun’s camp in the following statement (translated from Chinese), issued Sunday:
The China Swimming Association today learned about the report of Chinese swimmer Sun Yang from relevant media reports. We believe that its report is not true. In September 2018, Sun Yang was accepted by the FINA-authorized doping control sample collection agency. When the International Doping Control Management Company (IDTM) conducted an off-site inspection, the IDTM doping inspectors could not provide legal excitement. The agent’s certificate and the nurse’s practice certificate violated the FINA Anti-Doping Rules and relevant international standards. The athlete considered the inspection to be illegal and invalid, which led to the inability to complete the inspection. After the FINA conducted an investigation, the Chinese Swimming Association asked Sun Yang to actively cooperate with the investigation in an serious and serious manner, and objectively and truthfully responded to the situation at that time. Currently, according to the FINA doping panel decision, athletes are not found to have violated FINA’s anti-doping rules.
The decision made by the FINA Anti-Doping Committee on this case clearly states: “The doping test performed by IDTM on September 4, 2018 is ineffective.” (As a result, the sample collection session initiated by IDTM) On September 4, 2018, is invalid and void.)”, “Mr. Sun Yang did not violate Article 2.3 or 2.5 of the FINA Anti-Doping Rules. (Mr. Sun Yang did not commit an anti-doping rule violation under FINA DC 2.3 or FINA DC 2.5.
The China Swimming Association has consistently adhered to the firm stance of anti-doping and has zero tolerance for doping issues. The association will continue to strengthen anti-doping work and strictly abide by anti-doping regulations.
Sun is the world record holder in the men’ 1500 free and a 3-time Olympic gold medalist. He previously served a 3-month doping suspension for a positive test for the substance Trimetazidine in May of 2014; the suspension was only announced after it was served.