A Swiss court has revoked a ban against Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, a move many believed would effectively end the Olympian’s career.
According to the state-run Xinhua News Agency, Sun’s lawyers had received a verdict from the Swiss Federal Tribunal revoking the previous ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). In February, the CAS had slapped the swimmer with an eight-year ban on competition for “tampering with any part of doping control.”
The New York Times reported that the tribunal’s decision came after Sun’s lawyers presented evidence that one of the arbiters issuing the competition ban had made racist comments about China on social media, casting doubts on his objectivity.
In a statement Wednesday, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it had been informed of the tribunal’s decision to uphold a revised application filed by Sun and dismiss the ban. “WADA will take steps to present its case robustly again when the matter returns to the CAS Panel, which will be chaired by a different president,” the statement said, suggesting the organization will appeal the overturned ban.
The 29-year-old three-time Olympic medalist was formally punished following an altercation during the administration of a drug test at his residence in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou in September 2018. Sun had then appealed the decision to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.
In 2014, Chinese swimming authorities had also banned Sun for three months after he tested positive for a prohibited stimulant. Sun said at the time that he was taking the drug for a heart condition without realizing it wasn’t allowed.
Apart from competition bans, Sun has made headlines because of a spat with Australian swimmer Mack Horton, who called him a “drug cheat” after beating him in the 400-meter freestyle event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
In 2019, Horton refused to share a podium with Sun after finishing second to him in a competition at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
(Header image: A portrait of Chinese swimmer Sun Yang after a competition in Tianjin, Sept. 1, 2017. People Visual)