Sun Yang’s trial against his potential doping ban will be made public.
Sun Yang’s trial against his potential doping ban will be made public.

Twist in Sun Yang doping scandal trial

A  CASE in which China's multiple world and Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang is accused of anti-doping violations will be held in public, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has revealed.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has appealed to CAS against a decision by swimming's governing body FINA to clear Sun of wrong doing during a random drug test last September.

Documents leaked to the media have revealed that Sun questioned the credentials of the testers before members of his entourage smashed the vials containing his blood samples with a hammer.

The 27-year-old has denied any wrongdoing. Sun competed at last month's world championships in South Korea under the shadow of the WADA appeal and three rivals snubbed him after races, by either refusing to shake his hand or join him on the podium.

Sun's lawyers said last month that he wanted a public hearing to clear his name.

He served a three-month doping suspension in 2014 for taking the stimulant trimetazidine, which he said he took to treat a heart condition. The substance had been banned a few months before Sun failed the test.

A second doping violation would inevitably bring a harsher sanction and could rule him out of next year's Tokyo Olympics.

Sun Yang is opening the doors to his trial.
Sun Yang is opening the doors to his trial.

CAS said that it would be only the second case in its history to be held in public - the previous in 1999 also involved FINA.

"At the parties' request, the hearing, which will likely take place in Switzerland, will be open to the public (including the media)," said CAS in a statement.

The open hearing by the Court of Arbitration for Sport will probably be in Switzerland but is "unlikely to be before the end of October," the court said on Tuesday.

Sun is following another three-time Olympic swimming champion, Michelle Smith de Bruin of Ireland, as the only athletes opting not to have a closed-door hearing in the sports court's 35-year history. She lost her case in 1999.

His lawyers said last month that Sun "objects to being tried by the Australian press."

The furore surrounding Sun exploded during the 2019 World Swimming Championships when Aussie Mack Horton refused to stand alongside him on the podium after the 400m final.

Sun pipped Olympic champion Horton by 0.73 of a second to claim his fourth-straight 400m freestyle world title, but Horton made it clear he was not happy Sun had been allowed to compete at the titles, refusing to stand on the medal podium

The refusal from Horton saw Sun accuse him of disrespecting China and saw the Aussie swimmer receive death threats from angry Chinese fans.

British swimming Duncan Scott then followed in Horton's footsteps when he also refused to stand next to the Chinese athlete.

Scott, who dead-heated with Russia's Martin Malyutin for bronze, snubbed Sun's offer of a handshake and also declined to stand next to the Chinese star on the podium for the customary photo of the medallists as the crowd roared its approval.

"I'm team Mack," Scott said.

"If (Sun) can't respect our sport then why should I respect him?"

What followed was Sun exploding at the British athlete and labelling him a "loser" for his protest.

Sun Yang wasn’t happy with Duncan Scott’s protest.
Sun Yang wasn’t happy with Duncan Scott’s protest.

In the only previous public trial, Smith de Bruin challenged a four-year ban imposed by FINA in 1998 two years after the Atlanta Olympics for allegedly tampering with a urine sample by adding alcohol.

A panel of three CAS judges heard the case over two days in May 1999 in its home city Lausanne, Switzerland, and upheld the original verdict.

On Tuesday, CAS confirmed reports it hoped to schedule Sun's hearing in September, until "unexpected personal circumstances" forced a delay by several weeks.