HUANGSHAN, China, September 24. DENIS Cotterell has been banned from coaching foreign swimmers by Swimming Australia, if claims by Chinese swimmers are to be believed. A Chinese official, however, has denied the claims.
News first broke when China's Hao Yun made the claim at the Chinese Nationals this weekend, and it has been confirmed by Chinese superstar Sun Yang in an article in the China Daily.
Hao, speaking to Sina, had originally stated a desire to follow in the footsteps of some of the most prominent Chinese swimmers, including Sun and Ye Shiwen, who had trained with Cotterell prior to the 2012 London Olympics. Hao, however, stated on Saturday that he may not be able to go to Australia because Australia would not let Cotterell train the Chinese.
Sun confirmed this claim in a China Daily article.
“Yes, this is what happened,” Sun told the China Daily. “But he still wants to work with me and so do I. We will find out if we can still make it work. I think the training methods there have fit me very well. I don't want to change anything or find a new place. I wish I could be able to maintain the cooperation with him and he thinks so.”
China's swim team leader Xu Qi, however, has denied these claims. The rumors began spreading after Hao Yun said in an interview a couple days ago that he had heard such news. It is thought that the rumors might have started with news that Swimming Australia is set to critically review its program as its swimmers underperformed and managed only one gold in the pool at the London Games (their worst Olympics in two decades) while the China won five golds, all by swimmers that train in Australia periodically.
Xu said Swimming Australia should not be in a position to intervene Cotterell or Ken Wood (who has trained Ye Shiwen) in coaching Chinese swimmers at their clubs, as the latter are free to negotiate their training schedules. In fact, there is more collaboration between China and Australia coming up. Next January, a three-nation meet featuring swimmers from China, Australia and Brazil will be held in Melbourne. The meet is expected to become an annual affair taking place in the three countries. China has been invited to send a 40-person delegation to attend.
According to Xu, Cotterell also said he has heard nothing about the rumoured ban.
Hao also clarified that when talking about the ban, he meant to say he “has heard about it”, although it came out as if he meant it was a confirmed thing.
Special thanks to Chinese correspondent Christopher Chow for contributing to this report.