Chinese doping officials say they were not trying to cover up Sun Yang’s positive test and that they held back news of his three-month suspension because they did not want to make any mistakes with “the most famous athlete in China”.
Sun, China’s most successful male swimmer, secretly served his ban during May and August after testing positive for the banned stimulant trimetazidine.
It was only on Monday that the China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) revealed the 22-year-old world and Olympic champion had committed a doping offence.
“Sun is the most famous athlete in China and is known in the world, which means we need to handle his case very cautiously,” CHINADA deputy director Zhao Jian told the country’s official Xinhua news agency.
“This is huge bad news but we will not cover it up.
“We announce positive cases and test statistics in our quarterly reports just as WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) requires.”