Three-time Olympic champion Sun Yang will miss the Tokyo Olympics after the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced his eight-year ban to four years and three months.
Sun Yang was originally cleared of any wrongdoing by FINA in 2019 after he missed a doping test in which it was reported his support team had threatened the Doping Control Officers and smashed sample collection vessels with a hammer. The World Anti-Doping Panel appealed this decision to CAS where Sun Yang was banned for 8-years due to the fact that this was his second violation.
The first CAS case was criticised as many argued that the interpretation had not been accurate throughout proceedings and that one of the panel members had an undeclared conflict of interest. The Swiss Federal Tribunal ruled that the matter would be heard with a new panel that said “The new panel found to its comfortable satisfaction" that, when it came to anti-doping rule violations, Sun was guilty of "evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection by an athlete" and "tampering or alleged tampering with any part of doping control by an athlete or other person.” Adding “The new panel considered that the circumstances surrounding the sample collection of 4-5 September 2018 merited a period of ineligibility at the lower end of the range: namely the addition of the three-month period (from 2014) to the four-year ban applicable in this second case.”
The ban is backdated to 28 February 2020 meaning that Sun Yang will be banned until February 2024 and therefore miss the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Sun’s lawyer Zhang Qihuai said “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.” WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said “The decision by the Swiss Federal Tribunal to set aside the CAS award was limited to a challenge made against the Chair of the CAS Panel and had nothing to do with the substance of this case. Today’s ruling reconfirms WADA’s position in relation to the original FINA ruling, which was that there were a number of points that were inconsistent with the Code. Today’s CAS ruling validates those concerns.”