Swimmer outrage as drug cheat gets free pass

ANGER among swimmers grows with Chinese rivals Sun Yang was given the chance to win more gold medals at next month's world championships because of a delay in setting a date for his latest doping case. 

In a decision that has infuriated clean swimmers all over the world, Sun escaped with nothing more than a slap on the wrist after he went into meltdown and destroyed one of his own blood samples with a hammer at an out-of-competition drug test last year.

World athletics boss Sebastian Coe declared destroying samples a "clear cut doping" and said if a runner did that, they'd be kicked out of the sport.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) also thought the verdict, made by a tribunal appointed by the sport's world governing body FINA, was fishy so conducted an in-depth review of the case findings then promptly lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

But that was four months ago and for reasons that remain untold, CAS still hasn't set a hearing date, even though the current list of pending cases extends through to August 14.

That means Sun will be free to enter the world championships in South Korea, starting July 21, and almost certainly add to his stockpile of gold medals, despite repeated pleas from swimmers that the case be dealt with quickly and transparently.

'It makes me incredibly angry and it raises some really serious questions that demand answers if WADA and FINA want to remain credible in the world of clean sport, especially where it pertains to Sun Yang," Australian freestyle sprinter Cate Campbell said.

News Corp Australia has sent multiple requests to CAS asking for an explanation about why WADA's appeal hasn't been heard but has not received a response.

Sun Yang has won gold medals at the last four world championships.
Sun Yang has won gold medals at the last four world championships.

WADA said it was unable to comment on the case because it was still pending while FINA, already facing a global revolt from swimmers over the way it treats doping issues, is also remaining tight lipped.

About 200 of the world's best swimmers, including 20 Australians, have signed up for the rebel International Swimming League, starting later this year.

The breakaway league is offering $7.5 million in prizemoney, but there's a catch: anyone who has been busted for doping is barred so Sun won't get a cent because he served a previous doping ban in 2014.

If found guilty of a second offence, the short-tempered world and Olympic champion would face suspension from all competitions, which would boost the gold medal hopes of Australia's new long-distance swimming star Jack McLoughlin, who has surfaced as one of his main rivals.

The 27-year-old Sun admitted to destroying the samples at his initial hearing after being charged with two offences - refusing to submit to a sample and tampering with a sample - after a random test at his home in China last September.

Sun denied any wrongdoing and was let off with a caution because of a technicality over paperwork but the doping panel warned him it was a "close-run" thing.