GENEVA – One of China’s biggest Olympic stars will undergo a rare public hearing in a doping case on Friday with his 2020 Tokyo Games place at stake.
Three-time gold medalist swimmer Sun Yang is facing a World Anti-Doping Agency appeal in Switzerland that seeks to ban him for up to eight years for allegedly refusing to give samples voluntarily.
The case is notorious for a vial of his blood being smashed with a hammer by his bodyguard. Sun allegedly helped by lighting the scene with his cellphone.
It’s a colorful detail of a late-night dispute between Sun’s entourage and officials trying to take blood and urine samples after visiting his home in China.
However, much of the case hangs on protocol and paperwork: Did the three anti-doping officials in China conduct themselves properly and have correct authorization documents to make their September 2018 visit valid?
A tribunal appointed by world swim body FINA sided with Sun and merely warned him, though noted “it was a close-run thing.”
“It is safe to describe the entire (visit) as problematic, highly unusual and, at times, confrontational,” the FINA panel wrote in a 59-page ruling, also noting “troubling and rather aggressive” conduct by Sun and his entourage.
WADA believes Sun violated rules by refusing to provide samples requested on a properly scheduled visit. The agency challenged the FINA panel’s verdict with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.