28th May 2021

Chinese swimming guidance geared to accommodate Sun Yang

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will issue a Decision regarding Sun Yang’s retrial before the end of June reports AFP, however guidance issued by the Chinese swimming federation appears geared to accommodate him in the Tokyo 2020 team, should he be cleared to compete. The World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) is appealing an international swimming federation (FINA) Decision to clear Sun of tampering with a doping control. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reheard the case from 25-27 May, after its Decision to uphold WADA’s appeal and ban Sun for eight years was set aside by the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT), due to arguments that the CAS Panel was biased.

Sun, the 200m freestyle Olympic Champion, didn’t participate at the Chinese National Championships, which took place from 30 April to 8 May. On 12 March, the Chinese swimming federation issued ‘Methods for the Selection of Swimming Events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Draft for Comments)’. This outlined that swimmers who reached the Olympic A standard and achieve the best results in the National Championships will qualify for selection.

On 23 April, a week before the National Championships, the Chinese swimming federation issued draft ‘Supplementary Principles’ on selection for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. These outlined that the 12 March guidelines ‘only determines the qualification of athletes, and is a reference basis for determining participating events and selecting personnel’. It added that if there is a big gap between an athlete’s performance and international performance, then it will take a decision on whether to enter them in that event.

Current 200m freestyle times…

Wang Shun won the men’s 200m freestyle at the Chinese National Championship with a time of 1:46:55. This is almost two seconds slower than Sun’s time of 1:44.65 at the Rio 2016 Olympics and current international times (see right). As such, if Sun is cleared to compete at Tokyo 2020 the Chinese swimming federation will face a difficult decision that is likely to be controversial, whatever it decides to do.

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