Sun Yang at centre of fresh scandal as 'secret' photos emerge

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·Sports Editor
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Sun Yang, pictured here in China.
Sun Yang is under fresh investigation from WADA. Image: Getty

The World Anti-Doping Agency has launched an investigation into allegations disgraced Chinese swimming star Sun Yang has broken the terms of his ban from the sport.

Sun was banned from competing at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo after refusing to give a sample to doping inspectors.

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He was initially banned for eight years, however that suspension was downgraded to four years and freed him for a potential comeback at the 2024 Games in Paris.

But Sun is now facing the prospect of having his ban restarted.

On Saturday, The Times newspaper reported that the three-time Olympic champion had been "training in secret" at government-funded facilities despite his four-year suspension.

It said he had been photographed in a "performance sport facility" as he builds up to a potential comeback at the Paris Olympics.

The Times reported that if Sun is found to have broken the terms of his ban, his penalty could be restarted, which would rule him out of the Paris Games.

WADA spokesman James Fitzgerald told AFP that the anti-doping body took the allegations "very seriously".

"We are looking into the matter and, as part of that, we will follow up with the relevant entities, including the international swimming federation (FINA), to gather more information and to be in a position to determine whether the swimmer has breached the terms of his suspension, as per the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) of 22 June 2021," he said.

Sun Yang, pictured here alongside Mack Horton after the 400m freestyle final at the 2016 Olympics.
Sun Yang (R) alongside Mack Horton (centre) after the 400m freestyle final at the 2016 Olympics. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

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CAS banned Sun in June for refusing to give a sample to doping inspectors.

At the end of a long-running and controversial case, the Lausanne-based court reduced its original ban of eight years after Sun appealed to Switzerland's federal supreme court over alleged bias.

The new ban of four years and three months, backdated to February 2020, ruled the 1500m freestyle world record-holder out of the Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Asian Games in his home city of Hangzhou.

Sun, who was banned for three months in 2014 for a separate doping offence, will be eligible to return in time for the Paris Games, although he will be 32 by then.

The swimmer, who has been dogged by controversy throughout his career, has always maintained his innocence in the murky events of September 2018 when doping inspectors visited his home.

The 11-time world champion said the testers were not qualified or authorised.

Aussie rival Mack Horton famously refused to stand on the podium next to the drug-tainted Sun at the world championships in 2019.

That followed the Australian branding Sun a "drug cheat" at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, when Horton took gold in front of Sun in the 400m freestyle.

with agencies

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