The World Anti-Doping Agency has filed an appeal in the Court of Arbitration for Sport against FINA over its decision not to reprimand Sun Yang over his now-infamous drug testing incident earlier this year, the CAS confirmed to SwimSwam Wednesday.
The organization 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.
Sun, the world record holder in the men’s 1500 free and three-time Olympic gold medalist, nearly missed an out-of-competition doping test on September 4th last year. 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.”
Sun previously served a three-month doping suspension for a positive test for the substance Trimetazidine in May of 2014. The suspension was only announced after it was served. Sun has also been prone to previous emotional outbursts, including a physical altercation with a Brazilian female swimmer at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships, and the later smashing of a locker inside the locker room at the same meet.