The 13-month-long public saga regarding an out-of-competition anti-doping test that went awry in September 2018 for Chinese star Sun Yang might not be over yet.
Following the stunning announcement of his eight-year ban from swimming at the hands of the Court of Arbitration for Sport Friday, the three-time Olympic champion says he will appeal the decision to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.
“This is unfair. I firmly believe in my innocence,” Sun told Xinhua News. “I will definitely appeal to let more people know the truth.”
After the decision was announced, CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb explained that Sun has 30 days to appeal, and he can request a stay of the decision in the higher court. According to the CAS website, an appeal is “allowed on a very limited number of grounds, such as lack of jurisdiction, violation of elementary procedural rules (e.g. violation of the right to a fair hearing) or incompatibility with public policy.”
— mattleightoncnn (@mleightoncnn) February 28, 2020
The night of the fateful test in question, Sun challenged the credentials of the doping control officers and did not provide a urine sample. Sun’s challenge of the testers’ authorization caused a dispute over a blood sample he’d already given that night, and the sample was ultimately destroyed by one of Sun’s guards while removing it from the secure container.
FINA originally sought a ban against Sun, but an independent FINA doping panel cleared him. WADA appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which had a fully public hearing last November, though that hearing was marred by translation issues that delayed the CAS decision.
The suspension is the 28-year-old’s second in his career. He tested positive at Chinese Nationals in the spring of 2014 and was given a three-month ban, though that ban wasn’t publicized or announced until it was over, and was short enough to allow him to compete (and win three gold medals) at the 2014 Asian Games.