'It's an outrage': Mack Horton cops 'disgraceful' new blow in Sun Yang saga

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Aussie athletics legend Raelene Boyle has led calls for Sun Yang to be stripped of his gold medals from the 2019 world championships after he was handed an eight-year ban.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport came down hard on Sun on Friday, rubbing him out of swimming for the next eight years.

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However they were powerless to strip him of the medals he won at the 2019 world championships because the event took place after he smashed a vial of his own blood during a test in 2018.

Because Sun was technically ‘clean’ when tested at the world championships, he will be allowed to keep his results and medals.

Mack Horton refused to share the podium with Sun Yang at the 2019 FINA World Championships. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

That means Mack Horton - who famously refused to share the podium with Sun at the world championships - will not be promoted to world champion in the 400m freestyle and will have to settle for silver all over again.

The ball is now in FINA’s court as to whether or not Sun will be stripped of his medals, but considering the governing body cleared Sun to compete at the world championships having read the report about smashing the vials, that remains highly unlikely.

Boyle, who herself was robbed of gold in 1972 by East German runners who were later proven to be drug cheats, said it would be a ‘travesty’ if Horton wasn’t awarded the gold.

“The medals should definitely not be in his (Sun’s) hands,” Boyle told The Sunday Telegraph over the weekend.

“I know Mack would rather come second and not cheat than cheat to win the gold but sporting organisations down the track have to address what happens with medals because Mack should have that gold medal and this is a really big issue.”

Mack Horton, Sun Yang and Gabriele Detti after the 400m final at the 2019 FINA World Championships. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Daily Telegraph writer Julian Linden said it’s an “outrage to everyone who cares about clean sport.”

“Mack Horton should be world champion and would already have been if he was competing in almost any other sport because Sun’s results from last year’s world championships would have been wiped from the record books,” he wrote on Sunday.

“The only reason they haven’t been is because the pig-headed leaders of swimming’s global body FINA refuse to change their rules on dealing with doping cases despite being repeatedly warned they need an urgent overhaul.”

FINA vice-president Matt Dunn said the governing body was “open” to taking further action against Sun.

“I think the option [of stripping Sun of his medals] will be open,” Dunn told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"We supported the judgment of the FINA doping panel, and consequently we support the decision of the CAS.

“Really we wean to ensure the WADA code is enforced as best we can in order to ensure a drug-free playing field for clean athletes.”

South African swimmer wants Sun’s gold

Meanwhile, South African star Chad Le Clos has also called for Sun to be stripped of his medals dating back to the 2016 Olympics

“He’s a proven cheat that’s been able to compete since 2014‚” Le Clos said, referencing Sun’s first failed drug test in 2014.

“The real punishment should be getting his medals taken back‚ over his career‚ not the eight years.

“I lost an Olympic gold medal because of Sun Yang … I feel upset‚ I still want the gold medal back. Absolutely‚ I feel I deserve it. "

“If I break my leg tomorrow and I can’t swim anymore‚ I want my record two Olympic gold medals and two silvers‚ not one gold and three silvers.”

And Phil Lutton of the Sydney Morning Herald has warned FINA of the backlash it will received if Sun keeps his medals.

“Sources within the Australian and international swimming community say there is once again growing anger towards FINA,” Lutton wrote.

“With FINA's overly friendly relations with Sun and Chinese swimming an open secret within the sport, the resentment and lack of faith has continued to fester and will only build should FINA resist altering the World Championship medals.

“Few believe FINA will have the courage to stand against China and deny Sun's medals but more non-action will only intensify the resentment many swimmers harbour to an organisation that openly covets Chinese support of the sport and and its economic clout.”

with AFP