Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, who is fighting a doping ban, has been given a lifeline after the China Swimming Association announced that the reigning world champions from the country are eligible for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
The development comes just a few days ahead of Sun Yang's new tribunal hearing between May 24 and 28 over his doping sample refusal when the testers visited his home in 2018.
The three-time Olympic gold medallist was handed an eight-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last year after he refused to provide samples during the surprise doping test.
But Switzerland’s top court overturned the ban on Sun Yang in a shocking decision where it said the CAS was guilty of bias.
Meanwhile, Sun Yang has protested his innocence, saying that the inspecting officers did not produce documents proving their identities.
According to the 29-year-old, three anti-doping officers arrived at his house on the night of September 4 in 2018. After giving blood, Sun went into the bathroom assisted by a Doping Control Assistant (DCA) so that his urine collection could be observed.
Soon after, Sun noticed that the DCA was busy taking pictures of him and when he asked for the accreditations of the officer, the documents were not provided.
However, it isn’t the first time Sun Yang has been in a doping controversy. He was handed a three-month suspension in 2014 after testing positive for stimulant trimetazidine.
Sun Yang to skip National Championships
According to Chinese media, Sun Yang is also skipping National Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Quingdao this week.
A 1500m world record holder, Sun Yang won the 200m and 400m at the 2019 World Championships and is one of China's strongest bets for a swimming gold medal.