Australia’s The Daily Telegraph has obtained and published the full 59-page FINA report regarding an altercation between Chinese Olympic gold medalist Sun Yang and drug testers in September of last year. FINA ultimately sided with Sun in the matter, eventually releasing a statement that they wouldn’t ‘consider further speculation and hearsay’ about Sun in his 2nd major doping scandal.
The report details the perspectives on the story of both Sun and the sample collectors that showed up at his house that evening. Ultimately, no blood or urine collected on the night in question, and the blood sample that was taken and not smashed by a hammer remains in the possession of Sun’s doctor.
A hearing, which was heard by an independent doping panel, had FINA as the aggressor and accuser, presenting a case for sanction against Sun, against Sun’s declaration of innocence. The conclusion of the doping panel was, in essence, that the doping collection agents did, in fact, fail to provide proper validation of their certification to draw blood under the International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI).
- Sun listed a Whereabouts window of between 10pm and 11pm on September 4th, 2019 at his “athlete’s villa” in Zhejiang Province. Athletes are required to give a 1-hour window of availability to drug testers for random sample collection each day.
- Testers from International Doping Tests and Management, contracted by FINA to conduct the tests, arrived at his home within that window, and Sun was not there. The female Doping Control Officer (DCO) and the male Doping Control Assistant (DCA) called Sun, who eventually arrived by car with several family members, including his mother Ming Yang, and they all moved to a nearby clubhouse for sample collection.
- Once at the clubhouse, Sun started disputing the assistant’s accreditation, took photos of the DCA’s identification card, and sent those photos to someone (the report did not know who).
- Sun’s mother, Ming Yang, began threatening to call the police, saying that she had contacts and could determine if the DCA was properly authorized to test her son.
- Sun finally provided a blood sample, which was completed by 11:35 PM, but refused to provide a urine sample, again stating that the DCA was not authorized.
- The DCO suggested that Sun’s mother watch the DCA watch Sun give the sample, and this offer was decline by Sun’s mother.
- The testers then say they repeatedly warned Sun that urinating without being chaperoned could be considered a “refusal violation.”
- Around 1AM, Sun’s personal doctor Ba Zhen arrived at the clubhouse, while the parties involved continued to argue abaout the urine sample collection.
- Sun’s doctor then said that he believed that neither the DCO or the DCA were properly accredited and denied them permission to take Sun’s blood samples away for testing. Sun and Dr. Ba were again warned that if the DCO did not leave with the blood containers intact, this could consttiute an anti-doping rules violation.
- Sun “insisted” that he was co-operating, would continue to do so, and that he would wait at the doping control station until a ‘properly authorized’ DCA arrived. The DCO refused this idea.
- At this point in time, Sun’s mother asked a body guard to bring a hammer in to the room where the doping control was being conducted. At that point, according to the report, it was Sun and his doctor who proposed that the vial of blood be broken with a hammer.
- The report says that at that point, while on the phone with a testing coordinator, the DCO “heard the sound of glass breaking,” where it was found that one of Sun’s guards was using a hammer to break the vials. The athlete was allegedly illuminating the scene with his cell phone flashlight.
- Sun and his team asked the DCO to destroy a second vial, which she refused to do.
- At 3:15, Sun’s mother collected all of the used and unused materials from the testing area, including the damaged and used blood tubes, needles, and shredded the doping control form and left the clubhouse.
Sun Yang‘s Defense
Sun says that he grew suspicious of the DCA, and feared that they had been secretly taking pictures and videos of him, and that this caused him concern. In consultation between Sun’s doctor and Dr. Han Zhaoqi, the deputy director of the Zheijang Anti-Doping Centre; as well as Dr. Cheng Hao, the team leader for the Chinese National Swimming team; the group decided that the DCA was not qualified to draw blood.
The doping panel, which said that “both FINA and the Athlete offer vastly different explanations regarding what happened, why the evening unfolded as it did and, critically, what consequences most result,” concluded that Sun did not commit an anti-doping rule violation. The panel also concluded that the award was not to be made public unless the athlete were to consent to the disclosure.
“The BCA (collection officer) may well have been properly licensed and the holder of a Practice Certificate – the Doping Panel will never know based on the record before it. What is certain is that she did not produce unequivocal evidence of her qualifications to draw blood from the Athlete, as required in the ISTI. Blood collected by an individual not possessing proper qualifications and not in a position to show these qualifications to the athlete is a proper ground to abandon the blood collection session.”
The FINA doping panel included Switzerland’s Robert Fox, Algeria’s Farid Ben Belkacem, and Canada’s David Lech. The World Anti-Doping Association has appealed the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Sun’s first, and only accepted, doping violation came in 2014, he 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. Sun said that the medicine was prescribed to him to deal with a heart condition – the same heart condition that he says forced him to withdraw from the 1500 free at the 2015 World Championships not long after.
Sun, who has been criticized by many famous western swimmers as a ‘drug cheat,’ is a 9-time World Champion and 6-time Olympic medalist. That includes gold in the 200 free and silver in the 400 free at the 2016 Olympic Games. According to unofficial entry lists, Sun is entered in the 200, 400, and 800 freestyles at the 2019 World Championships, where swimming begins in Gwangju, South Korea on July 21st.