Among the highlights at the 2019 FINA World Aquatic Championships in Gwangju were World Records by Hungary’s Kristof Milak, Russia’s Anton Chupkov, American Caeleb Dressel, and the United States’ Regan Smith, as well as the Australian women’s 4x200m freestyle relay, United States’ women’s 4x100m medley relay, and the United States’ mixed 4x100m freestyle relay.
However, among the stellar performances from the best athletes around the world, a black cloud hung in the air concerning competitor Sun Yang of China. At the time of this competition last July, the winner of the 200m and 400m freestyle events in Gwangju was facing an upcoming Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing regarding the World Anti-Doping Agency’s appeal case against FINA’s decision not to sanction Sun Yang over his blood vial-smashing incident in September of 2018.
Expressing their disappointment with the fact that Sun Yang was competing, Australian Mack Horton, who took silver in the 400m free refused to stand on the podium with Sun Yang during the medal ceremony. Although Briton Duncan Scott, who finished with the 200m free bronze, did step onto the podium, he refused to shake Sun Yang‘s hand post-ceremony and also opted out of group pictures with the medalists.
Reflecting on the situation a year after snubbing Sun Yang‘s handshake and months after the announcement of Sun Yang‘s ban, 23-year-old Scott told BBC that he ‘backs the decision that has been made’ against the Chinese megastar.
Going back to Gwangju, Scott said, “Me not shaking his hand was nothing against him personally, it’s about a stance towards clean sport.
“The ban that he’s got is deserved and I think this is a step in the right direction towards clean sport.”
At the University of Stirling, Scott has gotten back in the water as of early July, with a renewed vigor towards the postponed Olympic Games set for Tokyo, Japan next year.
“I’m going to keep the same targets I had last year. I know what I want to do and I know what I need to do to try and get there.”