December 3, 2014 / 12:53 AM / 3 years ago

Australia turns back on China's fallen Sun

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Olympic and world champion swimmer Sun Yang has been barred from training in Australia in the wake of a three-month ban for a doping violation.

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

Swimming Australia high performance boss Michael Scott met with Sun’s Australian coach Denis Cotterell last week and told him the 23-year-old Chinese, one of the biggest names in world swimming, was no longer welcome at local pools.

”I met Denis last Tuesday,“ Scott told Brisbane’s Courier Mail newspaper. ”As a result of that meeting and our policy, Denis has advised the Chinese swimming federation that Sun Yang will not be allowed to train at Miami (Swimming Club) any more or any of our podium centers.

“(Integrity) is foremost going forward. It was a very straight forward call, which Denis supported and has been acted upon already.”

Swimming Australia confirmed the report and said the governing body’s CEO Mark Anderson would issue a statement later on Wednesday.

Cotterell, head coach of the Miami Swimming Club and one of Australia’s most accomplished swimming mentors, trained 1,500 meters Olympic and world champion Sun and a number of elite Chinese at the Gold Coast pool.

Prior to Sun, Cotterell also coached Australia’s two-time Olympic 1,500m champion Grant Hackett, who held the world record before it was eclipsed by the controversial Chinese.

The Miami Swimming Club was unavailable for comment.

Scott also told the Courier Mail it was tightening protocols around foreign swimmers, making them register with Australia’s national anti-doping agency and pay a fee to Swimming Australia to ensure they would be tested during their stay.

Sun tested positive for the banned stimulant trimetazidine during national swimming championships in May, but his ban was kept under wraps by China’s swimming administration and the country’s peak anti-doping agency until Nov. 24.

That allowed Sun to compete at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in September where he won three gold medals, free of the attention his ban would inevitably have brought.

Under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s current regime, athletes are generally slapped with two-year bans for a first breach of the code.

From Jan. 1, bans will be doubled to four years.

Chinese officials defended Sun’s short ban, saying they believed he did not intend to cheat. Sun said he had taken the drug for a heart condition.

WADA last week said it would review the case and decide whether to appeal the decision.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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