Sun Yang to appeal eight-year doping ban

Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, a multiple world and Olympic champion, is to appeal the eight-year ban he was given in a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling last Friday.

Sun’s lawyer Zhang Qihuai issued a statement on Saturday saying that he will appeal the ruling, based on “a series of procedural errors”. The lawyer said: “Feb 28, 2020 was a dark day. It shows the scene where evil defeats justice and power replaces self-evident truths.”

The eight-year ban means Sun’s career is effectively over. In the immediate future, he is stopped from defending his 200-metre freestyle title at the Tokyo Olympics.

He was given the ban for refusing to give a doping sample in September 2018. It is the 28-year-old’s second ban for doping, having served three months in 2014 for taking a banned substance.

A vial of Sun’s blood was smashed with a hammer during a testing session in 2018, but he was acquitted by world swimming body Fina of anti-doping violations, which agreed testers failed to produce adequate identification. But the World Anti-Doping Agency took the matter to the CAS, demanding a ban of between two and eight years for missing the out-of-competition test.

In its judgement, the CAS said its panel “unanimously determined” that Sun had tampered with his doping control.

Sun’s lawyer’s statement said: “On this day, CAS listened to prejudice, turned a blind eye to rules and procedures, turned a blind eye to facts and evidence, and accepted all lies and false evidence.”

The statement said doping officials at the testing session in 2018 were not qualified or authorised, and it was they who decided not to pursue testing.

Sun will also sue a doping inspector who gave “false evidence”, said the lawyer, who also accused Wada of “distorting facts and abuse of power”.

Sun won two gold medals at the London Olympics in 2012, in the 400-metre and 1500-metre freestyle, and took gold in the 200-metre freestyle in Rio in 2016.

Prior to his doping charges, Sun was favoured by sports sponsors looking to make inroads into the Chinese market. He had deals with Coca-Cola, Chinese shoe company 361 Degrees, and dairy goods manufacturer Yili. In 2018, his sponsorship portfolio became a source of dispute as a result of conflicts between his deal with 361 Degrees and Anta, a Chinese sportswear company which is the official sponsor of Team China and the Chinese Olympic Committee.