Chinese swimmer star Sun Yang has bee banned for more than four years on for breaking anti-doping rules.
The ban was confirmed on Tuesday June 22, following a retrial at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The court’s verdict ends his hopes of defending his Olympic title in the 200 meters freestyle in Tokyo next month.
According to Mail Online, the ban is backdated to February 2020, meaning Sun could return for the 2024 Paris Olympics when he would be 32.
The judges found Sun ‘to have acted recklessly’ when he refused to let anti-doping officials leave his home with a sample of his blood, the court said.
Sun denied wrongdoing and his original eight-year ban imposed last year was overturned on appeal to Switzerland’s supreme court which ordered a fresh prosecution.
Federal judges ruled the first guilty verdict unsafe because the chairman of the three-judge panel at CAS showed anti-Chinese bias in social media comments.
The retrial was reportedly heard by three new judges by video over three days last month and fast-tracked ahead of the Tokyo Olympics opening on July 23.
The doping case was about a failed attempt to take blood and urine from Sun by a sample collection team who made an unannounced visit to his home in China in September 2018.
The visit sparked a confrontation between the officials and Sun’s entourage who then reportedly smashed the casing of a blood vial with a hammer so that it would not be valid for testing.
The World Anti-Doping Agency appealed to CAS when a tribunal appointed by swimming’s governing body, FINA, only warned the three-time Olympic champion about his conduct.
A change this year to FINA’s rules in anti-doping cases meant the eight-year ban for a second offense could be reduced. This amendment ‘represents a newly flexible approach,’ the court said.
Sun won a total of 11 golds in five straight world championships from 2011 to 2019, at each freestyle distance from 200 to 1,500.