Australian Report Claims Banned Chinese Olympic Champion Sun Yang Planning Comeback

Australian Report Claims Banned Chinese Olympic Champion Sun Yang Planning Comeback

Reports in Australia claim that China’s banned Olympic champion Sun Yang could well be planning a comeback for the Paris Games.

News Corp papers have published today that 32-year-old Sun “is still secretly preparing for a shock return to the Chinese team at this year’s Paris Olympics.”

The report claims that Sun is continuing to train every day in his homeland and sources have confirmed to News Corp that he remains on China’s registered anti-doping testing pool.

“That’s a sure sign he’s still planning a comeback because there’s no other reason why anyone would remain on the registered list because it requires them to provide specific details about their daily whereabouts and undertake random, unannounced blood and urine tests,” wrote News Corp chief Olympic correspondent Julian Linden.

“As soon as athletes retire, they immediately take themselves off the anti-doping registry so they can live normal lives, but it means they are ineligible to compete.

“Sun is already banned from racing because he is currently serving a four-year suspension for tampering with his samples before they could be checked for performance-enhancing substances.

“But his ban – which was reduced from eight years  expires on May 27 – exactly two months before the opening day of swimming at the Paris Olympics.

“The Chinese Olympic trials are scheduled to take place in April, which would seem to rule Sun out of contention, but the Chinese Swimming Association can use their discretionary powers to pick him as long as he posts a qualifying time before June 23.”

If Sun did make it back, the report suggested he would likely race in the 400 metres freestyle, which also happens to be the first event on the swimming program in Paris.

Sun won the 400m gold at the 2012 London Olympics but was beaten at Rio in 2016 by recently retired Mack Horton, who famously protested at Sun’s inclusion at the 2019 World Championships while his case was still pending.

BUDAPEST CHAMP: Elijah Winnington aims to add his second World’s gold in the 400m freestyle. Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

If Sun does make it to Paris, he might have two Aussies to contend with Sam Short, the reigning world champion, and Elijah Winnington, the 2022 world champion.

With Short opting out of this year’s World’s meet which kick-starts in Doha today, Australia’s hopes lie with Winnington, who has arrived from a Thailand training camp with coach Dean Boxall and other members of his squad, including World Championship silver medallist Shayna Jack.

The men’s 400m will be the feature event on the opening day with Winnington up against  Tokyo Olympic champion Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaoui, hyped Irishman Daniel Wiffen, who broke Grant Hackett’s 800m short course world record in December and Germany’s Lukas Martens.

Meanwhile Jack – who will contest the 50, 100 and 200m freestyle in Doha, will be in action on Day One in Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay –reigning world record holders, Olympic champions and recent World champions in Gwangju (2019), Budapest (2022) and Fukuoka (2023).

Australia’s Head coach Rohan Taylor said his 15-strong group, which is minus the likes of the world’s premier backstroker Kaylee McKeown but includes backstroke rookies Jaclyn Barclay and Iona Anderson, is ready to race.

“You will see some fast swimming. Our swimmers see this as an opportunity to post some great swims,” said Taylor.

“For some, this is about getting ready for Paris and then there’s the likes of Jaclyn and Iona who dominated the backstroke at World Junior Championships last year in Israel. This is their first senior meet and an important part of their career progression.”


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