BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s swimming authorities have slapped a blanket suspension on Sun Yang, banning him from all training and competition after a car the Olympic champion was driving without a license collided with a bus, the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old freestyle swimmer has already been ordered to spend a week in detention and pay an unspecified fine following Sunday’s crash in the eastern city of Hangzhou involving a Porsche Cayenne SUV he said he had borrowed from a relative.
Sun has been “suspended from all the competitions at home and abroad; suspended from the training of the national swimming team; and suspended from all the social and commercial activities involving the national team”, the Chinese Swimming Administrative Center (CSAC) was quoted as saying in a statement.
CSAC, part of China’s state sports administrative body, also “fully supported” Sun’s detention as decided by the Hangzhou police department, the report added.
A popular sports figure in China, Sun was suspended in February from all commercial activities for breaching a “series of team rules”.
According to Xinhua, Sun had fallen out with his long-time coach Zhu Zhigen who felt the swimmer had too many commercial obligations.
The 400 and 1500 meter freestyle champion at last year’s London Olympics has apologized for the incident, requesting for an opportunity to “correct” his “mistake”.
How the country’s elite behave is a sensitive topic in China, where the government has been trying to fight public anger at the perception that the richer and more privileged a person is, the less likely it is they will be punished for breaking the law.
Writing by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi. Reporting by Jonathan Standing; editing by Patrick Johnston