Disgraced Chinese swimmer Sun Yang is reportedly targeting a shock return to the pool at this year’s Paris Olympic Games.
Making the scenario even more jarring for Australian sports fans, he could compete in a pet event for swimmers in green and gold.
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There had been recent speculation 32-year-old Sun’s career was over, but as CODE Sport reports, he has an avenue to return to the pool.
Sun is currently banned, yet he is training every day and is still on China’s anti-doping testing list, a move that requires athletes to be available for random blood and urine tests.
It is not a move usually continued by retired athletes or those not planning a return.
A three-time Olympic gold medallist, Sun was initially banned for eight years in February 2020 for an incident that had occurred two years earlier.
Sun and members of his team were found guilty of smashing vials of his blood with hammers after he had undergone a doping test.
He was handed the maximum eight-year sentence as it was his second doping suspension, having been banned for three months back in 2014 for testing positive to a banned stimulant.
At an appeal in June 2021, that eight-year ban was cut in half, meaning his four-year sentence will expire on May 27.
That is two months prior to the swimming competition commencing in Paris.
Sun will still be sidelined for the Chinese Olympic trials in April, CODE Sports reports, but the country’s swimming association could still opt to select him if he manages to produce a qualifying time by the cut-off date in June.
The 400m freestyle is considered Sun’s most likely event if he does go through with a comeback, which is the first swimming event on the Paris Olympic program.
It’s the event he won at the London Games in 2012 before taken silver four years later, famously beaten by Australian Mack Horton.
The eight-lap event has been won six times at Olympic level by Australians, starting with Murray Rose in 1956 and twice by Ian Thorpe in 2000 and 2004.
There are currently two top-class Australian men swimming the 400m, current world champion Sam Short and 2022 world champ Elijah Winnington.
For more details, check out the original article at CODE Sports using this link.