An international court on Tuesday reduced a doping-related ban on Chinese swimming star Sun Yang from eight to just over four years, dashing the hopes of the three-time gold medalist from competing in the Tokyo Olympics next month.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decided to ban the 30-year-old athlete from competitive swimming for 51 months following an appeal from the swimmer, according to the ruling. In February 2020, the Swiss-based CAS had handed Sun an eight-year ban for doping violations.
Following Tuesday’s decision, Sun told Sixth Tone’s sister publication, The Paper, that he is in “good (competitive) condition” and will continue to train. The athlete told Tencent Sports that he still hopes to compete at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
In December, the eight-year ban from CAS was rescinded by a Swiss federal court after Sun’s lawyers presented evidence that one of the arbiters involved in the decision had made racist anti-Chinese comments on social media, which may have affected the judgment. The World Anti-Doping Agency then initiated a new suit against Sun following the court’s verdict.
The 51-month ban means Sun will also be unable to compete at the 2022 Asian Games in the eastern city of Hangzhou, as well as the next two FINA World Aquatics Championships — the global competition where he has won 11 gold medals since 2011.
While Sun has made waves with his medal-grabbing wins in the pool, he has also been in the news for other reasons. In 2019, he made global headlines after his Australian counterpart Mack Horton refused to stand alongside him at the medal podium over the doping controversies.
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
(Header image: Sun Yang during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, U.K., 2012. Cui Jun/People Visual)