Controversial Chinese swimmer Sun Yang has again found himself the centre of attention at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea overnight, as British swimmer Duncan Scott refused to join him on the podium or shake hands after the Men’s 200m freestyle final.
The dramatic scenes come two days after Australian Mack Horton protested Sun’s victory in the 400m Freestyle by stepping aside during the medal presentation. Some of the swimmers were upset with Sun’s celebrations after Lithuanian Danas Rapsys was disqualified for a false start, allowing Sun to inherit first place.
While Sun celebrated after the race on the lane ropes, Australian Clyde Lewis, Scott and others made their way to Rapsys to console him after his bizarre disqualification for a slight movement on the blocks.
200m freestyle bronze for Duncan Scott in Gwangju in a tie for third In 1:45.63. Danas Rapsys wins, then is disqualified to allow China’s Sun Yang to defend his title with Scott moving up to bronze. Will they all go on podium with him?
— Mark Woods (@markbritball) July 23, 2019
Sun wins by disqualification. World champs in an uproar as Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys touches first in the 200m freestyle final but disqualified for moving on blocks. And who wins? Sun Yang! Aussie Clyde Lewis gave it his all but finished seventh.
— Wayne Keith Smith (@WayneKeithSmith) July 23, 2019
Sun served a three month ban after testing positive for banned drug Trimetazidine in 2014, and then famously smashed blood test samples with a hammer in front of officials last September according to a FINA (International Swimming Federation) doping panel report.
The fractured relationship between Horton and Sun can be traced back to the 2016 Rio Olympics where Horton beat Sun in the 400m Freestyle and labelled the Chinese swimmer a drug cheat. The lack of action by FINA regarding Sun’s alleged indiscretions has always rankled Horton, who feels that Sun should not be allowed to compete.
Though Horton was widely applauded for his silent protest, his actions were questioned by some in the swimming community. However, Scott’s very public display of support for Horton was telling.
According to the BBC, Scott said “I’m team Mack.”
“If (Sun) can’t respect our sport then why should I respect him? I think a lot of people, everyone in swimming, got behind what Mack did.”
“Hopefully this will happen in more events.”
FINA, has since released a statement on the matter with warning letters sent to both Sun and Scott regarding their behaviour on the podium.