BEIJING – Sun Yang tested positive for the stimulant trimetazidine on May 17 during Chinese Nationals, and was banned for three months, the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency told Xinhua today. Sun has also had his 1500-meter national title stripped.
“I have taken many doping tests during years of training and competition and I had never failed one before,” Sun said in a statement. “I was shocked and depressed at that time, but at the same time it made me cherish my sporting life even more. I will take it as a lesson and be more careful in the future.”
The ban lasted until August 16, but news is just breaking about the suspension. Sun was also fined 5000 RMB (which is around 816 U.S. dollars)
Sun stated during a July hearing that he took the drug for medical reasons, and was not aware that the drug was banned.
“Sun proved with sufficient evidence that he did not intend to cheat, which helped reduce his ban to three months,” CHINADA deputy director Zhao Jia said. “But his failure to inform the doping control official should be punished all the same.”
The fact that the news just broke is a bit surprising, considering Sun went on to compete at the Asian Games in South Korea in September.
“Sun is the most famous athlete in China and is known in the world, which means we need to handle his case very cautiously. This is huge bad news but we will not cover it up,” Zhao said. “We announce positive cases and test statistics in our quarterly reports just as WADA requires.”
FINA also released the ban today as well.
On May 17, 2014, the swimmer Sun Yang (CHN) was tested positive to the substance Trimetazidine (Class S.6.b Specified Stimulants) following an in-competition doping control test conducted with the occasion of the Chinese National Championships.
The China Swimming Association imposed a sanction of 3 months’ ineligibility on the athlete starting on May 17, 2014. Furthermore, the China Swimming Association imposed a sanction of 1 year ineligibility on Ba Zhen, the doctor of the athlete, starting on the same date.
Chinese Nationals in May was one of Sun’s first competitions back from his suspension following his arrest for driving without a license.
Last year, Sun spent more than half a year away from the pool due to the arrest and served a short jail sentence for driving without a license.