Chinese officials defend Sun's three-month ban

Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:00am EST
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(Reuters) - The Chinese Swimming Association (CSA) has defended the three-month ban handed out to world and Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang for a doping offense.

The CSA released a statement on Tuesday saying it believed Sun had made a mistake but never intended to cheat.

"Sun took the drug without an intention to improve his result, but both he and the Zhejiang swimming association had made mistakes," said the statement.

Sun, who competes for the Zhejiang swimming association, secretly served the suspension earlier this year after testing positive for the banned stimulant trimetazidine during the Chinese national championships in May.

The China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) could have imposed a longer ban but said it decided on three months because Sun had been given medication by a doctor to treat a heart issue and was unaware it had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) banned list this year.

"We believe Sun did not intend to cheat," said Xu Qi, team leader of the Chinese national swimming team.

"The punishment was in accordance with related rules and reasonable."

Swimming's world governing body FINA issued a brief notice confirming the three-month ban and also a 12-month suspension that was handed out to Sun's doctor, Ba Zhen.

Sun served his suspension in time to represent China at the Incheon Asian Games in South Korea in late September, where he won three gold medals.   Continued...

China's Sun Yang poses with his gold medal after winning the men's 1500m freestyle final swimming competition at the Munhak Park Tae-hwan Aquatics Center 
during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne