• Sun Yang goes online with a picture and messages of support from mainland fans
  • The Chinese swimmer’s case will now be heard on a new date not before the end of October
China’s Sun Yang in training at the 2019 Fina World Championships. Photo: AFP

Controversial Chinese swimmer Sun Yang has broken his silence after the Court of Arbitration for Sport's announcement that his doping case had been postponed.

On Wednesday night, the triple Olympic gold medallist posted on the Weibo social media platform a picture taken of him at the world championships. Above the picture was a message: "Under the water I want to be faster and stronger; above the water I want to own the strongest heart".

Chinese media and fans interpreted it as Sun wanting to persevere in the pool and be resolute in the face of criticism as he waits for the court hearing, which is now unlikely to take place before the end of October. Sun's lawyers earlier successfully requested that the hearing be an open process "in order to be fully transparent and to clear his name".

Sun Yang's post on Weibo after the postponement of his doping hearing case. Image: Weibo

Although the CAS has not disclosed which parties involved in the hearing " Sun, world governing body Fina and the World Anti-Doping Agency " had requested the postponement, mainland media and fans appear united in their support of the star swimmer, with online comments saying "little tricks" to deter Sun's preparation for next year's Olympic Games would never succeed".

"Wada know they will never win the case and that's why they use all kind of excuses to delay the hearing; once they have affected Sun's mentality their target will be achieved. From the beginning, Sun has done nothing wrong," one of the fans wrote in Sun's Weibo account.

Fina has already ruled Sun has not done anything against the rules and the hearing should give Sun the justice back squarely and honestlyWeibo commentor

"They delay the hearing again and again because they want to affect Sun's training," another fan said. "Everybody knows what they want to do for next year's Olympic Games … Fina has already ruled Sun has not done anything against the rules and the hearing should give Sun the justice back squarely and honestly."

Gold medallist (second left) Sun Yang of China, silver medallist Katsuhiro Matsumoto (left) of Japan and joint bronze medal winners Martin Malyutin of Russia and Duncan Scott (far right) of Great Britain during the medal ceremony for the men's 200m freestyle final at the 2019 Fina World Championships. Photo: EPA

In March, Wada appealed Fina's decision to the CAS and a hearing was scheduled for next month until the court announced the postponement earlier this week.

The 27-year-old, who won also two gold medals at the worlds last month, is hailed as the best freestyle swimmer by mainland fans. Sun also aspired to be in charge of Chinese swimming one day after revealing himself a government official as the assistant division chief at Zhejiang College of Sports, the first current athlete in China to have such an identity in the bureaucracy.

Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Comment 0