China’s star swimmer and bad boy extraordinaire Sun Yang had apparently failed a doping test back in May and was banned for three months, reports revealed today.
The ban followed a positive test for the stimulant trimetazidine and was imposed in July, according to news agencies, citing the China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA). Somehow, Sun had still managed to compete the Asian Games, held this past September in South Korea, taking three gold medals.
This was, by the way, the same event at which the Olympic gold medalist managed to piss off an entire nation by calling the Japanese national anthem “ugly”.
Xinhua did not immediately explain why the positive result had only come to light now, or how Sun was able to take part in the Incheon games.
It said that Sun tested positive on May 17 during China’s national swimming championships, waived his right to have his B sample tested, and defended himself in a hearing in July “where the experts decided to hand him a three-month ban”.
Sun said that he’d taken the prescription drug Vasorel from time to time for heart palpitations since 2008 and was unaware that it contained trimetazidine, which increases blood flow into the coronary arteries. The drug had been added to WADA’s prohibited list on January 14.
“Sun proved with sufficient evidence that he did not intend to cheat, which helped reduce his ban to three months,” Zhao Jia, deputy director of CHINADA, was quoted as saying in a Xinhua report.
“Sun is the most famous athlete in China and is known in the world, which means we need to handle his case very cautiously. This is huge bad news but we will not cover it up,” said Zhao.
Zhao says WADA had been administered 9,900 doping tests in six months and spent much of the time sorting to statistics.
“That’s why we did not release the reports for the second and third quarters until now,” he said.