The World Anti-Doping Agency’s appeal against FINA‘s decision not to sanction triple Olympic champion Sun Yang over his now-infamous blood vial-smashing incident will be heard in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in September, Agence France-Presse is reporting.
CAS confirmed to SwimSwam in March that the anti-doping organization had indeed filed an appeal, but declined to provide any further details, such as when the appeal hearing will take place, citing the process’ confidentiality. Sun, 27, is reportedly facing a lifetime ban should WADA successfully appeal the decision.
FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu, who supports the doping panel’s ruling, told AFP about the upcoming hearing date.
“But the situation is very simple — we have a decision from the FINA doping panel, which is totally independent,” he said. “According to the rules WADA can appeal — and they did so — and CAS is going to hold a hearing sometime in September so we wait to see what will happen.”
In the hearing, FINA officially sought for a harsher sanction for Sun, but the doping panel sided with the athlete, agreeing that there wasn’t evidence that the doping sample collector provided proper credentials.
The CAS’ currently public schedule run through late August. While Sun is allowed to compete while the appeal is being heard, if the CAS were to overturn the doping panel’s decision, stripping Sun’s World Championship results would be among the possible recourse.
The world record holder in the men’s 1500 free nearly missed an out-of-competition doping test on September 4, 2018. He made the testers wait outside of his home for almost an hour, and then challenged whether the officials were genuine testers from the International Doping Tests and Management lab.
Reports alleging that Sun’s mother, after he broke a number of out-of-competition drug testing protocols, ordered security guards to smash 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.
WADA, however, had been claimed to be ‘furious’ over the ruling. They had 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” to file the appeal case.
Sun’s lawyer Zhang Qihuai issued a statement to Xinhua News following The Sunday Times’ initial report, threatening to sue 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.” Shortly thereafter, the Chinese Swimming Federation published a statement of support for Sun, backing the defamation claims.
Following the intense public backlash to FINA’s decision, the organization issued a statement saying it “would not consider further speculation or hearsay on the matter.”
Over the weekend, the Daily Telegraph obtained and published the full 59-page report detailing the incident, which you can read more about here.