Sun Yang CAS doping hearing: Fina, Wada and the cast of characters involved as superstar fights for right to swim at Tokyo 2020

South China Morning Post Dipublikasikan 04.11, 14/11/2019
Sun Yang CAS doping hearing: Fina, Wada and the cast of characters involved as superstar fights for right to swim at Tokyo 2020

On Friday the world's media will descend on the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace hotel's conference centre on the banks of Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

They are there for the Court of Arbitration for Sport public hearing between Wada on one side and Sun Yang and Fina on the other. Sun maintains his innocence while Wada wants the Fina hearing overturned and to see the swimmer be banned for between two and eight years.

This is the first public hearing in two decades and only the second in CAS history. Those outside the hotel conference centre can follow along on the live stream on the CAS website to see what fate befalls Sun Yang.

So who was involved on the night in question and who will decide Sun's future?

Sun Yang

The superstar swimmer, 27, is a triple Olympic champion and a national hero in China. While he is loved at home, he cuts a much more controversial figure in the wider swimming world. Sun was banned for three months in 2014 for taking the stimulant trimetazidine, which he said was prescribed by his doctor to treat a heart condition. The substance had been banned a few months before Sun failed the test, but Sun's ban was only announced by Chinese authorities after he had served it.

Sun Yang at a training session in South Korea. Photo: AFP

This is the reason he was called a "drugs cheat" by Australian swimmer Mack Horton at the Rio 2016 Olympics and the start of their feud that only escalated after Sun's clearance by Fina in January over the events at an out-of-competition test at his home in September, 2018.

Sun will give evidence to the panel and also make a statement to the media after the hearing has concluded.

Ming Yang

Sun Yang's mother and manager was there the night that the testers came to call on the swimmer at his property in Zhejiang. She "threatened the DCO (doping control officer)", according to the Fina report.

It was she who removed the testing materials, including the smashed blood vials, away from the property on the morning of September 5.

The Security guard

A member of Sun's security team smashed the blood samples with a hammer as Sun watched on.

Sun Yang after winning the 800m at the 2019 world championships. Photo: AFP

The doping testing team

There were three people there, led by the doping control officer, who asked to remain nameless in the Fina report. She called her boss at the IDTM (which handles Fina's sample collections) in Stockholm, Tudor Popa, during the stand-off over the disputed credentials of the testing team. Popa testified at the Fina hearing via Skype. Lin Huangfen was the IDTM's blood collection assistant on the night and filed a supplementary report afterwards. She did not give evidence at the Fina hearing.

Ba Zhen

Sun's twice suspended doctor was also there on the night in question, arriving later. Described as the China team doctor, he was suspended by Fina following Sun's anti-doping violation. This ban was extended after he accompanied Sun to the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. Ba travelled without the Chinese team's knowledge.

It was Ba and Sun who suggested that the blood container be damaged with a hammer to protests from the doping control officer.

Sun Yang is interviewed at the 2019 world championships. Photo: AP

Han Zhaoqi

Han is regarded as Sun's "chief scientist" and has worked for the national team. He is also the deputy director of the Zhejiang Anti-Doping Agency, and was telephoned by Ba during the testing. The pair attempted to get the doping control officer to abandon the test. Han was pivotal in persuading Sun to take back the blood samples from the testing team because of nurse Lin Huangfeng's improper qualifications.

Mario Artur Dos Santos Simoes

The IDTM (International Doping Tests & Management) control officer was called to give evidence at the Fina doping hearing. He testified via Skype on his 2017 test of Sunin China and the report he filed to IDTM after the test. He reported that Sun was "extremely rude" to the doping control assistant and questioned her accreditation. The assistant was the DCO assigned by the IDTM for the September 2018 test.

The panel

The panel of arbitrators will be presided over by Judge Franco Frattini of Italy. Wada appointed Romano F. Subiotto while Sun, with Fina approval, appointed Philippe Sands.

The lawyers

Wada will be represented by Bryan Cave of Leighton Paisner, Colorado Springs, USA. Sun will be represented by Bonnard Lawson Law Firm of Geneva and UK barrister Ian Meakin, alongside Beijing Lanpeng Law Firm. Fina will be represented by Swiss firm CPV Partners.

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