“Pride of China” Sun Yang is “a victim of political posturing” and did not break doping rules, his lawyer said, after a ban of more than four years forced the swimming star out of the Tokyo Olympics.
The three-time Olympic champion’s career was in tatters yesterday after the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s suspension for refusing to give a sample to doping inspectors.
At the end of a long-running and controversial case, the Lausanne-based court reduced its original ban of eight years after the 29-year-old Sun appealed to Switzerland’s federal supreme court over alleged bias.
The new ban of four years and three months, backdated to February 2020, rules the 1,500m freestyle world record-holder out of next month’s Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Asian Games in his home city of Hangzhou.
Sun, who was banned for three months in 2014 for a separate doping offence, will be eligible to return in time for the Paris 2024 Games, although he will be 32 by then.
His lawyer Zhang Qihuai said the protracted legal battle “exposed the complexities involved in fighting international cases and dealing with foreign relations
(in sports), the weakness and
defects of the domestic system and athlete protection measures”.
“Sun Yang fulfilled his responsibilities, but he has become a victim of political posturing in this international case,” Zhang wrote on the Twitter-like Weibo.
Zhang, of Lanpeng Law Firm, called Sun “the pride of China” and added: “No one can understand the helplessness and hardship of athletes in his position.
“I can only say forever: Sun Yang did not violate the rules and
there were no violations detected in the results (from doping tests).
“Unfortunately for China and even the world, such an excellent athlete has fallen into the hands of international organisations manipulated by some people.”
It was not clear which organisations Zhang was referring to.
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