Swimming governing body Fina supported Chinese swimmer Sun Yang in a bid to throw out his Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing, according to Associated Press.
The report released on Tuesday night, said Sun's lawyers had filed a Fina-backed appeal with a Swiss federal court over a possibly conflict of interest with Wada lawyer Richard Young.
The lawyer had worked on Fina's legal commission until resigning in February 2019. Had a conflict of interest been ruled then Wada would have faced a race against time to meet deadlines and Sun could have walked away.
As it was, the swimmer's delayed CAS hearing was heard in public in Switzerland in November. The case was between the World Anti-Doping Agency on one side and Fina and Sun Yang on the other, relating to an out-of-competition doping test at the swimmer's home in September 2018.
Fina's own hearing cleared Sun despite testing samples being destroyed and Wada took the case to CAS, looking for a ban of up to eight years. A guilty verdict is certain to end the swimmer's hopes of Olympic gold in Tokyo this summer.
The first public hearing at CAS for two decades lasted for 10 hours and was mired in controversy surrounding the translation of testimony from Chinese to English. The translator appointed by Sun's legal team had to be replaced by a member of the CAS staff before Sun tried to bring in another translator for his final remarks to the court.
Since the trial, China's state news agency Xinhua alleged one of the doping control agents present at Sun's home that night was an untrained construction worker. Sun has continued to protest his innocence.
Issues around the translations and getting all parties to agree to them is behind the delay in the verdict, after "some concerns were raised with respect to the quality of the interpretation of Mr Yang's testimony".
The only statement from the CAS since the hearing was made in December to explain the delay and say that the arbitral award was "not expected to be issued before mid-January 2020".
Associated Press reported that the verdict is "expected within days".
That announcement reignited coverage in the media and online in China, with dozens of articles about Sun and thousands of comments. Some of those articles doubled down on Western media's "sinister intentions" when it comes to the swimmer.
These referenced both the AP article and reports from last week that China's anti-doping agency, Chinada, have informed Wada they will resume doping tests this week, beginning with elite athletes such as Sun.
Tests called off on February 3 as a measure against the spread of the coronavirus will resume but officials face the difficulty of testing athletes who are now training overseas.
Despite the verdict hanging over him and the ongoing battle against the coronavirus in China, Sun has continued to train for the upcoming Olympics in his hometown of Hangzhou.
Videos of the star training in a gym wearing a mask and swimming alone have been widely shared in the Chinese media.
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