GENEVA (AP) — The retrial of Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang will be held by sport’s highest court next month after his initial eight-year ban for alleged doping violations was overturned last year.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Thursday the case will be heard during the week of May 24-28 by video link from Lausanne because of travel restrictions and health protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CAS held a first hearing in November 2019 before its panel of three judges imposed an eight-year ban on Sun. However, the original verdict was overturned, and a retrial ordered, when Switzerland’s supreme court ruled in December that the presiding judge showed anti-China bias in social media posts.
Three different judges from Switzerland, France and Belgium have now been selected to hear the case, CAS said.
It did not give a timetable for its verdict but the ruling should be given urgently with the hearing set to finish less than two months before the Tokyo Olympics open on July 23.
Sun is the world champion in the 400-meter freestyle and heats in that event begin July 24.
Sun became China’s first male Olympic swimming champion when he won the 400 and 1500 freestyle titles at the 2012 London Games. He also won the 200 freestyle at Rio de Janeiro four years later.
The case is about a failed attempt to take blood and urine from Sun when sample collection officials went to his home in China for an unannounced visit in September 2018.
The incident became confrontational when the swimmer and his entourage questioned the officials’ credentials.
Evidence included Sun using his mobile phone light in the darkness to help a security guard smash the casing holding a vial of his blood. The guard was instructed by Sun’s mother and used a hammer to break the case and ensure the blood could not be used for anti-doping tests.
Sun has consistently denied wrongdoing, and was first only warned by an independent tribunal appointed by swimming’s governing body FINA. That ruling was challenged at CAS by the World Anti-Doping Agency and led to the eight-year ban.
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