Sport: WADA savages 'reckless' Sun Yang - - PressFrom - Australia

Sport WADA savages 'reckless' Sun Yang

01:36  16 november  2019
01:36  16 november  2019 Source:

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The World Anti-Doping Agency has launched a withering attack on Chinese swim star Sun Yang, describing as "incredibly reckless" his refusal to cooperate with drug testers on the advice of a doctor who previously prescribed him a banned substance.

Driving home the case against the Olympic and world champion at the end of a public hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, WADA counsel Richard Young said Sun Yang’s career was doomed even before his infamous attempt to smash open with a hammer a container holding vials of his blood.

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Mr Young said the moment Sun Yang tried to stop a doping control officer from leaving his Hangzhou villa with the blood sample he was guilty of tampering, an anti-doping offence which carries a career-ending, eight-year ban from competitive swimming.

"The evidence you have heard is very, very clear that the DCO wanted to leave with the blood sample and the response from Sun Yang and his entourage was 'absolutely no way was that going to happen'," Mr Young told the hearing in Montreux, Switzerland.

"Tearing up the form, smashing the bottle, I mean that is pretty sensational but he was nailed on a tampering violation before any of that happened."

Sun Yang wearing a suit and tie: Chinese swimmer Sun Yang appears at the hearing in Montreux, Switzerland. © Live stream Chinese swimmer Sun Yang appears at the hearing in Montreux, Switzerland. Sun Yang’s prospects took a further blow when London-based law professor Philippe Sands QC, a barrister appointed to the three-man CAS panel by Sun Yang, challenged the fundamental basis of his defence; that the doping control team which visited his home wasn’t properly accredited.

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WADA says Sun Yang broke anti - doping rules by refusing to submit to a sample collection. Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. The day-long hearing will examine why a secure box storing a glass vial of blood came to be destroyed by Sun 's entourage, who questioned the sample team's authority.

Sun Yang , one of the world's most-controversial Olympians, will have to overcome the biggest hurdle of his career after the World Anti - Doping Agency ( WADA ) elected to challenge a FINA decision to let the swimming champion walk free after he allegedly smashed a vial of blood with a hammer during a

"How do you put your case if you are wrong on the question of accreditation?" Professor Sands asked Sun Yang’s solicitor, Fabrice Robert-Tissot. "Or, is it the case that your entire submissions are based on the accreditation point?

"Because if they are, it is hard to see how you make a case."

The CAS hearing was a rambling and at times, disjointed affair, with Sun Yang’s testimony marred by poor translation and the cross examination of his mother, Ming Yang, connected only loosely to the questions she was asked.

There was no reference to Australia’s Mack Horton, Sun Yang’s bitter rival who publicly called him a cheat and refused to share a podium with him at the FINA world championships. Sun Yang’s Australian coach Denis Cotterell, whose own career rests on the outcome of this case, sat in the public gallery in Montreux.

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Both WADA and Sun Yang made appeals to the integrity of sport, with Mr Young warning CAS not to allow cheating athletes to "follow the Sun Yang playbook" by refusing to give samples to drug testers, while Sun Yang demanded that anti-doping organisations be made to follow their own rules.

"Myself and my team had nothing to hide in this incident," Sun Yang said. "I believe every individual and every anti-doping organisation must respect the requirements of the relevant international anti-doping regulations. Then the integrity of sport will be protected.

"If sport organisations won’t follow or respect their own rules, what is the point of talking about the spirit of fair play? If an athlete’s basic right and privacy cannot be respected and protected what is the point of talking about the dream of Olympic spirit?"

Sun Yang likened the episode at his villa in September last year to police knocking on your door and refusing to show you their badge. Mr Young dismissed his analogy. "This wasn’t a group of rogue imposters," he said.

The rhetorical flourishes are unlikely to sway the CAS panel, which reserved its decision after an 11-hour sitting. Instead, the CAS decision will come down to whether the doping control team which visited Sun Yang last September had the requisite documentation to carry out its testing mission.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport hears the appeal filed by WADA against Sun Yang and FINA. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd The Court of Arbitration for Sport hears the appeal filed by WADA against Sun Yang and FINA. WADA’s argument, backed by the agency official who helped write the International Standard for Testing and Investigation (ISTI) which governs drug testing, is the letter of authority from FINA and company photo ID presented by the Doping Control Officer who led the testing mission is all that was required.

Sun Yang’s argument, based on WADA guidelines, is that a more detailed letter of authorisation was needed and the other two members of the doping control team - a nurse and a chaperone - each required identification linking them to the company commissioned to conduct the tests.

Neither the nurse nor the chaperone had this level of identification and according to evidence led by Sun Yang’s legal team, the nurse wasn’t certified to draw blood outside her home city of Shanghai.

Sun Yang agreed to provide a blood sample but became suspicious when he spotted the chaperone surreptitiously taking pictures and videos of him during the drug test. The chaperone declined to provide a statement or appear as a witness before CAS.

Mr Robert-Tissot said the chaperone’s behaviour was the "triggering event" for what followed. "This is not about the athlete being extremely careless, this is about IDTM doping officers who were extremely careless, had no accreditation whatsoever and were not trustworthy," he said.

The hearing was told that since 2012, when Sun Yang won the 400m and broke his own 1500m world record at the London Olympics, he has provided 180 samples at drug tests. Of those, 117 samples were provided in out of competition tests.

Sun Yang testified that on the night at his villa, he declined to provide a urine sample and sought to retrieve the blood he had given on the advice of Dr Ba, his personal physician for the past 11 years. Dr Ba, who was called to Sun Yang’s home at about 1am, told the hearing he relied on the expertise of Dr Han Zhaoqi, the deputy director of the Zhejiang anti-doping centre.

Mr Young was scornful of Sun Yang’s decision to trust Dr Ba, a doctor who in 2014 prescribed him heart medication without knowing it had been added to WADA’s banned list. That mistake cost Sun Yang a three-month suspension and Dr Ba a year’s suspension.

He said that if Sun Yang had legitimate concerns about the accreditation or behaviour of the doping control team, he would have noted them in writing but cooperated regardless. Mr Young cited a CAS precedent which found that athletes must provide a sample unless it is "physically, hygienically or morally impossible" for them to do so.

"In this case Sun Yang was incredibly careless relying on Dr Ba, who he had already relied on once and tested positive for a prohibited substance," he said. "It was an incredibly reckless gamble.

"The bottom line is even if he relied on Dr Ba that is not a defence."

Tudor Popa, a manager from the company that conducted the testing mission, spoke to the doping control officer on the phone during the impasse with Sun Yang.

"It is so hard for me to believe that an athlete of Sun Yang’s level and his entourage could destroy sealed blood samples and keep them," he said.

Professor Sands asked Dr Ba whether, on the fateful night, he paused to consider the implications for Sun Yang if he made a second, terrible mistake.

"Surely you must have, against that background, thought for a moment if you or Dr Han, both of you, have got it wrong, the athlete risks paying a big price?"

Dr Ba gave no indication that he did.

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