In early December it was announced that because of his behaviour outside of the pool Chinese swimming super star Sun Yang would not be considered for the Chinese Athlete of the Year Award which he has won the last two years (2011 and 2012).
It was reported today on the CCTV website that Sun will still not be eligible for the individual award, but he will considered along with his teammates Wang Shun, Hao Yun and Li Yunqi for the prestigious CCTV team award for their performance in the men’s 4 x 200 freestyle relay at the World Championships in Barcelona.
The Chinese team barely made it into the final posting a 7:13.37 to beat the Australians by 15 one-hundredths of a second for the eighth place position. In the final the team was fifth and trailed both the French and the Japanese by almost two seconds when Sun hit the water. He was able to make up the deficit recording a split of 1:43.16 powering the Chinese to the bronze.
In December Jiang Heping the sports chief of CCTV stated that the majority of the selection panel did not accept Sun as a candidate for the individual award because of his lack of professionalism outside of the pool. It appears though that the same panel did not want to punish Sun’s teammates for his transgressions and could not ignore the credit he deserves for his team’s performance.
Hao Yun gives Sun credit for his leadership in the water and feels that his performance will inspire others in China, “To be honest, so far Sun Yang is the only one to lead us in the men’s swimming. Team China made a big breakthrough in the team event at the World Championships, and it will encourage others to catch up to him,” said Hao.