Sun Yang is out of the sport but will appeal his ban.
Sun Yang is out of the sport but will appeal his ban.

‘Dream stealers’: FINA cops Sun Yang backlash

AUSTRALIAN swimming star Cate Campbell has continued to shine a spotlight on FINA after Chinese swimmer Sun Yang's sensational eight-year ban.

Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association CEO Brendan Ward and president Tony Shaw both came out in a statement to savage the situation as well, pointing fingers at the governing bodies for "sitting on their hands".

The world was stunned as the news was handed down on Friday night and  the messy situation has become uglier and uglier as the days have gone on.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport nailed Sun with the maximum eight-year ban after he was found guilty of an anti-doping rule violation when a vial of the 28-year-old's own blood sample was smashed with a hammer during a testing session.

While Sun's team have come out strongly against the decision and pledged to appeal to the Swiss federal court, questions have been raised about the inaction of FINA, which had originally cleared Sun of any wrongdoing.

In a statement, Ward called for FINA to be "held to account".

"Mack Horton has come out saying he is just a guy chasing a dream - well FINA and Sun Yang, they are the dream stealers of international sport - they have stolen Mack's dream and they stolen the dreams of other athletes," the statement began.

"FINA must reconsider the the decision handed down by WADA not to reverse Sun's World Championship results and forget about the 'legal loop hole' they are talking about and do what is right by the athletes.

"FINA must be held to account for this. They have tried to fight this hearing and that was wrong and they must be held accountable for their actions; we have said all along we are for clean sport and that is absolutely what we stand for."

 

 

Shaw also stuck the boot in, slamming Swimming Australia for "sitting on its hands".

"We have not heard one word from Swimming Australia; not one word. Why aren't they doing something immediately in support of Mack and his coach Craig Jackson?" Shaw asked.

"It's time to get on the front foot, make a stance for Mack, his parents and his coach, get that gold medal their son so richly deserves; but nothing, not a word; time to act Swimming Australia…stop sitting on your hands and stir the pot."

Shaw also argued it was not just about the recognition of a gold medal, but the $20,000 in prize money for the World Championships victory.

Campbell demanded some "tough questions" be asked of swimming's governing body over the saga.

Former world swimming champion Cate Campbell speaks to the media.
Former world swimming champion Cate Campbell speaks to the media.

She argued FINA needed to review its procedures after Sun was allowed to compete in South Korea last year while under investigation.

"Some organisations need more improvement than others and I think that this is definitely something that needs to be reviewed," Campbell said. "Tough questions need to be asked.

"I'm not the person who should be asking those questions, I think that FINA should be asking themselves those questions and they really need to have a look at the standards they're setting.

"Once a ban of this substance has been handed down we need to go back and have a look at why athletes were allowed to compete at world championships with a ban like this looming over their heads."

The issue really came into the public eye through Mack Horton's protest during the 2019 World Championships in South Korea, when he refused to share the podium with Sun.

While many have seen it as vindication for the protest, the Aussie star has reportedly received death threats from Chinese fans after the decision was handed down.

Horton spoke to Channel 7 on Saturday and said "it goes on" when asked if he felt vindicated.

"I think regardless of the outcome it was always going to be a statement to the world and my stance has always been about clean sport never about nations or individuals," Horton told Channel 7.

"I'm just a guy still chasing the dream … we've got a job to do this morning and we'll just keep going."

Horton’s protest holds up quite well.
Horton’s protest holds up quite well.

At the time, FINA issued Horton a "warning letter" but Campbell backed her teammate's conduct throughout the ordeal.

"Every athlete has the right to stand up to what they believe in and Mack is a clear supporter of clean sport," Campbell said.

"He's a man of integrity and I don't think this decision has vindicated him in anyway shape or form, I think that it has just confirmed his courage as an athlete.

"We need to wait until the appeals process has gone through before we start demanding things (like apologies) because we have to allow these things to run their due course.

"But I think that Mack has definitely proved his worth.

"It was a brave step on his behalf and standing up for what you believe in can be really tough but for him it's worked out really well."

It was originally believed that FINA would not strip Sun's medals but the Sydney Morning Herald reported FINA vice- president Matt Dunn would entertain the possibility of stripping the medals from last years' World Champships.

"I'll have to convene with the FINA executive but my personal opinion is we'll likely have to wait until any avenue of appeal is completed," Dunn told the SMH.

"I think the option (of stripping Sun of his medals) will be open. We supported the judgment of the FINA doping panel, and consequently we support the decision of the CAS. Really we wean to ensure the WADA code is enforced as best we can in order to ensure a drug-free playing field for clean athletes."

Campbell said any apology from FINA or stripping of medals should wait until Yang had his final appeal heard by the Swiss federal court.

- with AAP


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