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December 12, 2019

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Home » Sports » Swimming

Sun Yang recalls bizarre doping test

Fifteen months after a nightmarish evening that led to a series of court cases against him, China’s Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang still has difficulty processing that day’s events.

“Everything that happened on the night of September 4, 2018, looked bizarre,” recalled Sun after his morning training session in Beijing yesterday. “The doping officials didn’t have sufficient credentials, one official had never received any training in doping control, and they agreed not to take away my samples because they lacked the proper credentials.”

“The funny thing is that they brought with them a foam box like one for storing seafood, instead of a standard collection box,” added the three-time Olympic champion.

Sun, who was tested by Chinese anti-doping officials on Tuesday night, his 25th doping check of the year, said the Chinese officials “performed their duty exactly as required by the World Anti-Doping Agency code and used standard testing equipment.”

The 28-year-old swimmer has been tested nearly 200 times since 2012, including 28 times in 2017 and 31 in 2018.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said on Tuesday that its verdict over the case brought by WADA against Sun is not expected before January 2020. This is in part down to the time taken to prepare a written transcript of a lengthy public hearing on November 15, which was marred by poor interpretation.

Sun refused to complete a doping test conducted by the international testing company IDTM on September 4, 2018, after discovering that the doping control officer and her assistants lacked sufficient authorization and credentials. The three testers signed an agreement with Sun on September 5 stating that the test was “incomplete” and that they would not take away the swimmer’s samples.

Sun’s case was later heard by swimming’s world governing body FINA, which decided on January 2019 that the swimmer was not guilty of anti-doping rule violations. WADA disagreed and appealed the decision, and asked the Switzerland-based CAS to ban Sun for between two and eight years.

At Sun’s request, last month’s hearing in Montreux, Switzerland, which dragged on for nearly 11 hours and was attended by around 200 people, was only the second public hearing in the history of CAS.

Sun said that he wanted the hearing to be made public to let the world know what happened on September 4, 2018, and to prove his innocence, and also called on international sporting organizations to protect the basic rights of athletes.

The November 15 courtroom debate was marred by poor interpretation of Sun’s testimony and those of his witnesses. Lawyers of both parties had to constantly repeat their questions and even interrupt the witnesses’ testimonies as a result of incomplete and inaccurate interpretation between Chinese and English.

In an earlier interview, Sun said he couldn’t trust testers without sufficient documentation proving who they were.

“I refused to take a urine test in front of a man who wasn’t a real tester,” Sun recalled. “When I take a urine test, I have to roll up my sleeves up to the elbows and have my pants down to my knees. I can show my body to doctors or official testers. How can I urinate in front of a total stranger who isn’t a tester or doctor?”


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