Celebrated swimmer Sun’s Tokyo fate hinges on May appeal


The decision on whether celebrated Chinese swimmer Sun Yang will be able to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games four months from now will be taken in the last week of May after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) accepted his plea for a second hearing.

Sun, the winner of three Olympic gold medals — two of them at the 2012 London Olympic Games in 400m and 1,500m freestyle — became embroiled in a controversy in late 2018 when he smashed open blood sample vials in an out-of-competition anti-doping test at his home as he felt the testing officials did not have proper credentials.

Though the international governing body for swimming, FINA, exonerated him, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) pursued the case and lodged an appeal with CAS, which overturned FINA’s decision and banned Sun for eight years.

But the 29-year-old Chinese swimmer, who also won gold in 200m freestyle at the 2016 Rio Games, appealed the ruling, saying that one of the three CAS-panel judges was biased following which it was decided that a new three-member panel will re-hear the case between May 24 and 28.

In a statement, CAS said: “In light of the travel restrictions and sanitary measures in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the hearing will be held by video conference. At the conclusion of the hearing, the panel will commence its deliberations and prepare the arbitral award. Accordingly, the decision will not be announced when the hearing concludes, but at a later date.”

In the event of Sun winning the appeal, he will be able to compete in Tokyo and defend his 200m freestyle title.