FINA, the international governing body of swimming, issued a statement Monday following the swimming world’s intense reaction to The Sunday Times’ report that a vial of Chinese star Sun Yang’s blood was intentionally destroyed during an out-of-competition drug test last September.
FINA is aware of the reports in the Sunday Times and other media outlets regarding Chinese swimmer Sun Yang. In accordance with FINA‘s Anti-Doping Policy (FINA DC Rules 14.1.5 and 14.3.3) and the decision of the Doping Panel, FINA is not authorised to comment the case. Moreover, FINA will not consider further speculation and hearsay on this matter.
FINA has zero tolerance for the use of banned performance-enhancing substances and methods. FINA remains completely committed to protecting our clean athletes, with a very robust anti-doping programme, and this has proven highly effective in ensuring clean competition at the World Championships and Olympic Games. FINA continued to implement this intensive approach in Hangzhou, China, during the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) 2018 and will do so again in the future, to preserve the integrity of our sport.
The Sunday 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 present 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 considering 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 Sunday 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 Chinese Swimming Assocation additionally issued a statement backing Sun’s camp on the claims of defamation.