What's the story?
Olympic Swimming Champion Sun Yang has been banned for eight years. The World Anti-Doping Agency had appealed against a decision by the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) or the International Swimming Federation to clear him of a doping offense. The appeal has been upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Sun Yang is also known as 'Underwater Meteor' and is one of the best swimmers China has ever produced. The Hangzhou-born swimmer won gold in 400-metre freestyle as well as the 1500-metre freestyle at the 2012 Summer Olympics. He also bagged the 200-metre freestyle gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Furthermore, Yang has multiple gold medals at the World Championships.
It is not the first time the Chinese swimmer has been banned from the sport. Earlier in 2014, the Chinese Swimming Association (CSA) banned Sun for three months after he tested positive for trimetazidine. It is a drug that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) classifies as a stimulant. The athlete also missed out-of-competition doping test in September 2018.
The heart of the matter
The eight-year ban effectively ends Sun Yang's career. The 28-year-old was accused of smashing the vials that contained his blood after a row with FINA drug-testers' team in 2018.
Sun, his entourage, and even his mother interfered with the team's efforts to get the blood samples of the swimmer as they felt the testers were not accredited. The ruling from Court of Arbitration (CAS) released today reads:
"The CAS Panel unanimously determined, to its comfortable satisfaction, that the Athlete violated Article 2.5 Fina DC (Tampering with any part of Doping Control). In particular, the Panel found that the personnel in charge of the doping control complied with all applicable requirements as set out in the International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI)."
"More specifically, the athlete failed to establish that he had a compelling justification to destroy his sample collection containers and forego the doping control when, in his opinion, the collection protocol was not in compliance with the ISTI. As the Panel noted, it is one thing, having provided a blood sample, to question the accreditation of the testing personnel while keeping the intact samples in the possession of the testing authorities; it is quite another thing, after lengthy exchanges and warnings as to the consequences, to act in such a way that results in destroying the sample containers, thereby eliminating any chance of testing the sample at a later stage."
Sun, who is guilty of the first anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) in 2014, will now face an eight-year period of ineligibility.
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The eight-year ban has attracted huge interest in China. Needless to say, the doping ban will also keep Sun out of the Tokyo Olympics. Chinese fans of the six-time Olympic medalist reacted furiously on social media after CAS ruling.
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