Swimmer Sun Yang’s eight‑year doping ban overturned by Swiss court

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According to the World Anti‑Doping Agency (WADA), Sun Yang’s swimming ban was overturned by the Swiss federal court on the bases of racism.

The eight‑year ban was imposed on the swimmer in February, after the Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS) found him guilty of refusing to cooperate with sample collectors during a home visit in September 2018, after he smashed a sample with a hammer.

Switzerland’s top court upheld an application by Yang and overturned CAS’ ruling from earlier this year. The court’s decision came after Sun’s lawyers presented evidence, claiming that Franco Frattini, former Italian foreign minister and the chairman of the three‑member CAS panel, which has issued the band in February, has made racist comments about China on social media.

The court’s decision reads: “The Swiss Federal Supreme Court approved the request by the Chinese swimmer Sun Yang for revision of the arbitral award of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne dated 28 February 2020… on the grounds of bias of one of the arbitrators of the CAS.” 

“The award of the CAS is set aside. The CAS will have to render a new award in the case of Sun Yang in a different composition of the panel.” 

The 29‑year old swimmer said back in February that he will fight this ban until the end, and even defended his action by proclaiming that the doping testers that went to his home were unqualified.

“Let more people know the truth,” said Sun. “I believe in my innocence! Believe in the truth and defeat the lie!”

This is however not Sun’s first clash with WADA. 

Sun, who won 11 world championships, four medals at the 2012 London Olympics and two medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, has also served a three‑month doping suspension in 2014, for taking the stimulant trimetazidine, which he said he took to treat a heart condition.

Australian swimmer Mack Horton and even our own Duncan Scott had refused to share a podium with Sun at the World Championships in South Korea in 2019, as a protest, after Sun’s another doping allegations in September 2019. 

The six‑time Olympic medallist and the first Chinese man to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming, is now free to compete until his case is heard again by CAS. This gives him the chance to preformed at the pandemic‑delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics now set for July 2021 and defend his 200m freestyle title.

Feature image credits: The New York Times

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Film, Media and Journalism student at the University of Stirling. Sports editor @ Brig Newspaper. Bylines in Edinburgh Evening Times and the SPA National Magazine.

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