Chinese multiple Olympic and world swimming champion Sun Yang has been banned from the sport for eight years for breaking anti-doping rules after a vial of his blood was smashed with a hammer.
The three-time Olympic champion was found guilty of refusing to cooperate with sample collectors from swimming’s world governing body FINA during a visit to his home in September 2018.
The 28-year-old, his mother and entourage allegedly interfered with the Fina team’s efforts to get samples because they did not believe the testers were properly accredited or qualified.
Sun, who had already served a three-month ban for an earlier offence, was cleared by a subsequent Fina investigation, a decision which prompted a mixture of fury and incredulity around the swimming world.
But the ruling outraged the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which took the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), demanding a ban of between two and eight years for missing the out-of-competition test.
After being cleared by FINA, Sun was able to compete in the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, in July, where he won two golds but became a focus of protests from rivals, especially from Australia.
That was evident at the World Aquatics Championships in South Korea in July 2019, when Sun claimed his 10th and 11th world titles but also clashed with Australia’s Mack Horton and Britain’s Duncan Scott during medal ceremonies.
The decision means Sun will not be allowed to defend his 200 metres freestyle title at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and effectively ends his career.
AFP contributed to this story