Writer Bonnard Lawson

Sunday 14 July 2019 saw the Australian newspaper the Sunday Telegraph publish an incomplete and biased account of the drug testing on Sun Yang, the Chinese freestyle swimmer, in 2018. The article spoke about the legal proceedings before FINA which led to FINA dismissing the case against Sun Yang. These proceedings were confidential but that did not stop the Sunday Telegraph from publishing its shocking article defaming Sun Yang. The article also spoke of the subsequent confidential Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) proceedings brought by the World Anti-doping Agency (“WADA”) against FINA’s decision. The CAS appeal is pending with a hearing set down for September 2019. On account of these flagrant breaches of confidentiality which the Australian newspaper was only too pleased to profit on the eve of the commencement of the FINA World Swimming Championships in South Korea, Sun Yang, represented by his legal team would like to summarily respond.

The doping control officers sent by the Chinese Testing Agency, IDTM, were not properly accredited to carry out the out of competition tests on Sun Yang, as the FINA judgment sets out very clearly. Worse, while he was fully cooperating, Sun Yang then noticed during the test that one of the unauthorised officers was secretly filming him without his permission. This act was resoundingly condemned by FINA in its judgment in Sun Yang’s favour. After having been advised by his medical team and the Chinese Swimming Association, Sun Yang, who has been tested hundreds of times in his career, requested the officers to show their accreditations, but to no avail. It also appeared that the nurse involved was not authorised to draw blood in China. Mr. Sun Yang requested IDTM to send testing officers with proper accreditation and he was ready to wait all night in order to complete the test, but IDTM refused. The officers then decided to stop the testing and gave the blood samples back to Sun Yang.

The matter is before CAS who will try the appeal brought by WADA. It is CAS and CAS alone who should hear this appeal and Sun Yang objects to being tried by the Australian press by journalists who cherry-picked through FINA’s judgment, inciting adverse and damaging reactions from third-parties on the internet. 

In view of this, Sun Yang has requested CAS to hold a public hearing of his case in September 2019 in order to be fully transparent and to clear his name.

Qihuai Zhang
Lanpeng Law Firm, Beijing

Fabrice Robert-Tissot
Bonnard Lawson, Geneva

Ian Meakin
XXIV Old Buildings, London and Geneva


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