The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Thursday that a new hearing for Sun Yang, the Chinese swimming star who had an eight-year ban for doping overturned last year, will be held in May. “A new hearing will take place during the week of 24-28 May 2021,” CAS said in a statement. Switzerland’s federal supreme court overturned the ban on the 29-year-old, who was accused of destroying a blood vial with a hammer when collectors visited his home in September 2018, over alleged bias towards the triple Olympic champion.
The new hearing takes place just two months before the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics are held.
Sun, the 1500m freestyle world record-holder, had initially been suspended in February 2020.
However, the Swiss federal court agreed with the swimmer’s lawyers who argued that the president of the CAS panel, Italian Franco Frattini, had previously made anti-Chinese tweets. They claimed the Twitter statements were racist in nature.
“Following the decision of the Swiss Federal Tribunal of 22 December 2020 to remove the previous President of the Arbitral Panel, the other Panel members stepped down and an entirely new panel was appointed,” added the CAS statement on Thursday.
It will be composed of new president Hans Nater of Switzerland, France’s Jan Paulsson and Bernard Hanotiau of Belgium.
“At the end of the hearing, the panel will begin its deliberations and prepare its decision.
“It will not be announced when the hearing ends, but at a later date,” said CAS.
Sun has fiercely declared his innocence in the affair.
“I firmly believe in my innocence,” he told China’s Xinhua news agency soon after the original judgement by CAS in February last year.
“I will definitely appeal to let more people know the truth.”
He also repeated his defence that the doping testers who went to his home in September 2018 were not qualified.
“Let more people know the truth,” added Sun, who served a three-month doping ban in 2014.
“I believe in my innocence! Believe in the truth and defeat the lie!”
Thanking China’s sports authorities and his supporters — he is hugely popular in China — Sun said: “I will fight to the end to defend my legitimate rights and interests!”
The Chinese Swimming Association (CSA) said “we deeply regret the decision of CAS” and echoed Sun’s assertion of events in 2018, when a vial of his blood was smashed with a hammer.
The CSA said the testers were “personnel without professional training and legal qualification to collect athlete samples, and the activity was illegal and invalid”.
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