Disapproval Grows As Sun Yang Trains In Australia Beyond Doping & Miami Bans

Sun Yang - by Patrick B. Kraemer

Sun Yang’s continued presence in Australia training on the Gold Coast with former Cotterell assistant Brian King not far from the base he was expelled from as a result of a positive doping test, is meeting resistance from pool managers unprepared to play secret hosts to the Chinese Olympic champion

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Sun Yang’s continued presence in Australia training on the Gold Coast with former Cotterell assistant Brian King not far from the base he was expelled from as a result of a positive doping test, is meeting resistance from pool managers unprepared to play secret hosts to the Chinese Olympic champion



He was banned to train at a centre funded by SA. If the place he is currently training at is not funded by SA then he is not breaking any ban. I assume after all the publicity it will not be easy for him to find another place in AUS once the current contract expires. Although money talks all the time :).

Craig Lord

Tommy, he is banned from any funded centre in Australia, and that would now apply to all who have served a doping ban… No-one is suggesting he is breaking a ban … his ability to continue to train in Australia comes down to how communities and those in official positions and responsible to and answerable to those communities feel. Australia is a place where foreign swimmers and programs are made to feel very welcome (all the more so, in some realms, if they’re bringing millions with them 🙂 ) but the sport, official bodies and the wider public run low on tolerance when it comes to doping, regardless of circumstances. Perception counts – and China’s handling of his case, including allowing his doctor to be in Incheon with him when knowing that a ban was in place (total disrespect for rules and rivals and fellow signatories to the WADA Code) has contributed to Sun Yang being perceived as tainted goods, however fair or not anyone may feel that to be. In some ways this is another example of the athlete being punished beyond his penalty because of the poor practices and bad handling of issues by those who are not being called to account in the public domain. Sun, too, should have been able to say ‘sorry Dr. Ba, you made a mistake and you are now banned, you cannot be with me in Incheon’. There has been a loss of trust (involving some who continue to be paymasters to programs travelling to Australia for training and the host programs in Australia) – such things are not easy to repair.


Australia should not let this happen. King does not understand the damage that perception can do and this is why Sun Yang should not train in Australia and with Australians. He cannot serve his time on this one. FINA and the Chinese authorities clearly thought that the perception would be bad enough that they tried to cover up things. There is a whiff of China once again sailing close to the concept of medicalising elite sportsmen as the only way to get to the top. Youngsters must believe that they can succeed without inappropriate cardiac medication. This drug should stay banned.

Ana Paula

Jessica Hardy, Cesar Cielo, Fred Bousquet also are under this rule. No big deal, you cannot swim at centre funded by Swimming Australia. Its it! Big sensationalism here. Sun Yang already serve his time, as well several other swimmers around the world.

Craig Lord

Ana Paula. There is always a big deal if athletes and others do things that taint swimming and make it a place of mistrust and less inviting and inspirational than we know it can be. Good culture in this says: no, not acceptable – and that line survives any suspension period. The culture of ‘no’ does not change because a suspension period ends. Sun served his time in secret and then raced to international honour without anyone knowing that he had served a ban – and he raced with a banned doctor by his side at a major international event. I see no sensationalism. I see some uncomfortable facts and difficult relationships. I also see the obfuscation of authorities on the Sun Yang case but see no officials taking responsibility and being transparent and honest on the timeline of events. If serving a suspension is no big deal, then we would not need anti-doping rules designed not to have folk placed in a sin bin but to stop cheating, bad practice and mistakes that stretch from laxness to sloppiness right through to the highly dubious – and the latter in places far and wide across the world.

Craig Lord

CharlesB: Not easy for a nation to prevent private arrangements without bringing in national laws that relate specifically to doping in sport. But I agree with your sentiment. And I think coaching associations and Swimming Australia could certainly intervene if they wished to. Took no time at all for the change on funded centres to be made. Where there’s a will …

On a related matter: I’ve read elsewhere that the drug for which Sun tested positive will no longer be part of the WADA Code from this year on but for the record that is untrue:

Hormone and Metabolic Modulators

Trimetazidine was originally included in S6.b based upon the similarity of its chemical structure to some of the listed Stimulants. In 2015, it will moved to the newly created sub-section S4.5.c as it is pharmacologically classified as a modulator of cardiac metabolism. In addition, AMPK activators were re-described to reflect current nomenclature.

Banned substances namd in the WADA Code, 2015:
5. Metabolic modulators:

Activators of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), e.g. AICAR; and Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptor δ (PPARδ) agonists e.g. GW 1516
Trimetazidine (the substance for which SUN tested positive)

Ana Paula

If Cielo decided to train one week with Cameron McEvoy, under this new rule, he can’t. Same for Hardy, Bousquet, and even Phelps. This is a fact. Then , he or they decide to swim on his own in a renting space. Do you think all these will come up? No way, bogus.
Sun Yang already served his time, period. CHINADA, FINA and WADA already punished him and accepted his suspension. Why we still talking about this.


It’s the right of a country’s own immigration office and sporting federations to set their own policies. Phelps would also have a hard time training or racing in Canada because Canadian immigration takes a drunk driving incident very seriously. Their country, their rules.

Craig Lord

Ana Paula, yes – what you say as applying to all I point out in the article so no need to repeat it, really. But the cases are not comparable. The rules came into force specifically because of Sun Yang, which in itself makes this a news lines beyond all those others in Australia context. All the more so because of the coaching link to the program Sun is banned from. Nothing bogus about this news line, whatsoever. No doping case is period, which is why the rules hold for offence No 2 for any athlete bringing a possible life ban (a penalty many – included a whole shoal of world-class podium places I have interviewed – would like to see imposed at offence 1 for cases where there is no doubt that cheating was intended). What has happened will reverberate – and so it should. If you imagine that the issue will not be raised by international media on the way to Sun standing on the blocks at Rio 2016 – and even more so if and when he does – you’re mistaken.

Ana Paula

Exactly beachmouse! Sun Yang enter in Australia as a tourist with proper Visa, rent a lane and use a private and personal coach. All legal. Nothing to do with the Australian Centre funded, nothing. What is the big deal here?

Craig Lord

Ana Paula, you can’t see why this ought to be reported and why the case and its consequences should remain in the public domain; but media far and wide can. I see more than 50 articles worldwide in major publications all beyond swimming niche on this in the media archive of the past week or so. You need to think a little more widely and place context to the situation; that may help you to get it, starting with ‘the Australian rules were created and imposed specifically in response to the Sun Yang case’. Sun did not enter Australia as a tourist beyond his technical and legal status, by the way: he has a tourist visa but clearly he is not a tourist: he’s clearly there on business … try entering China on a tourist visa on similar basis or as a journalist on a tourist basis and then try to write an article while on holiday, try popping along to the pool where Sun trains, even getting close – not going to happen 🙂
And while you appear to have no interest in the truth about the timing of the reporting of Sun Yang’s case, many others do – including me, that being my job…

Clive Rushton

I live in the zero tolerance world as far as doping is concerned even though I have great difficulty understanding the complexities which define the fuzzy line between banned/not banned. This case, however, appears straightforward:

He took a banned substance.
He tested positive.
He received a ban.
He went into ‘radio silence’ during the ban – pretty obvious the ban had absolutely no effect on his training leading into the Asian Games. – a complete waste of time and merely a bureaucratic convenience (as appears to be Yefimova’s).
At the Asian Games he was ministered by a banned doctor – that, in itself and alone, should warn every coach world-wide to stay light years away from him.

At some point FINA (the swimming organization, not the petrol station) were made aware of the positive result and the ban. The fact that they continue to ignore your question regarding the timing of their knowledge is a disgrace. In fact, its more than that isn’t it? It’s deceitful and despicable, and smacks of a supercilious arrogance built on a self-belief of untouchable ‘divine right’.

It appears he has entered Australia on a tourist visa but, as you quite rightly point out, he is not there as a tourist. He has duped the Australian immigration authorities. They could/should deport him.

Swimming Australia need to extend their ‘funded’ centre ban to include bans on working with anyone affiliated to SAL and that should include anyone working for a SAL affiliated entity. In other words, coaches who are members of ASCTA are caught in the net and coaches who work for a club affiliated to SAL, even if they are not ASCTA members (not sure if that’s possible – it shouldn’t be, but it may be), are also caught in the net.

Only then can Australian Swimming “avoid any possible link to doping.”

Is Brian King an ASCTA member?

Craig Lord

All correct, Clive. I understand that Brian King is a member of ASCTA – I sent a question to that organisation a week ago on a related issue … no reply as yet

Viva la Bang

Surely the chinese authorities should have some responsibility here as well.

Craig Lord

Yes, they should, Viva – Sun has not exactly been treated well or handled well at home, according to Chinese reports. In terms of WADA, the body answerable is CHINADA… Chinese swimming is not direly affiliated … a member of FINA, which is a signatory, with all its members, to the WADA Code… i is to FINA not the CSA that WADA turns if and when it seeks answers to questions on any case, Sun’s included.


Clive makes a good point…perhaps the petrol station would be better off running the sport…

Craig Lord

🙂 quite, Matthew… a point noted elsewhere:

Bill Bell

I’m with Ana Paula. Sun’s served his punishment, get over it.

Life goes on. Australia should stop being so hypocritical, so “Holier Than Thou” and look at Sun’s training there as a great benefit for Australian swimming.

Craig Lord

Bill, the rest of your comment has been edited out: we don’t do personal, really not – nor the kind of blatant defamation you wrote. Desist – or write your own stuff on your own website. I love it that you protect those who test positive and go all hippy and cool on the topic of doping but are happy to libel those who never tested positive and have never had any accusations levelled at them.
As for Australia, I think it perfectly reasonable to keep your house clean and stay as remote as possible from taint.

Aussie Bob

If FINA would come , all of the discussion and differences of opinion might (but probably not) be addressed…..

Megan Smyth

Craig my question to you is about integrity in the sport. Not so much about coaching a banned swimmer but about what you would think about any coach that has lied to children. Now I guess all coaches like to tell little Johnny that there is a chance they can get to the Olympics by swimming hard, eating right etc but what if a coach were to lie to a child about their background and to also tell stories about such things as cancer & depression – do you think that’s right? Do you think that such a coach would need to be called to question over bringing the sport into disrepute?

Craig Lord

I take it ‘clean’ is missing Aussiebob. If so, yes, I’m sure a touch of transparency would go a long way


LOL, yes, should read ‘If FINA would come clean….’


Would be interested to hear from Craig why “All questions to FINA on the Sun Yang case have met with a wall of silence…”

After reading latest development about Sun’s ban, there seems some “not revealed” info relating to Sun’s ban. It appears that Sun himself is a victim of China’s official mistake.

China’s central TV station has shown sympathy over Sun’s case over several news report.

It would be great that you can find the latest news to us.

Craig Lord

working on it…

Craig Lord

Megan, If any coach were to behave as you suggest, then clearly issues of integrity would arise and, in my view, ought to be investigated by the relevant authorities in Australia, including Swimming Australia and the ASCTA. I have heard stories like those before and they never have happy endings. We wrote about damaging behaviour a year ago here:




Interestingly, Brian King has your article http://www.swimvortex.com/the-best-case-for-lifetime-bans-doping-benefits-can-last-lifetime-for-cheats/ on his website back on 21 October. $$ talk, I guess.


Craig Lord, contrary to what you say, Brian King never said that the money should buy Sun Yang rights to discard the bans. And Sun Yang is NOT a “DOPER”, the substance he took is not anymore classified as a banned substance first off + It is said by legal chinese organizations it was prescribed to him by mistake. But you refuse to see that part of the story.

Craig Lord

Kevin (do us a favour and have the courage to write under your real name when criticising others), I don’t say what you claim, though the money, china and its boy are undoubtedly there in one place. I never used the term doper for Sun specifically (that mention was clearly general), that I leave to you – and as for the substance – yes, it is a banned substance and remains so – you need to read the 2015 WADA Code, quite clear… the substance has been moved to a different category but remains a banned substance. I removed the last sentence of your comment because it is libellous and a lie. What is now your last sentence is also clearly untrue… as you would know if you had bothered to read the articles I have written on this subject, including this one, and in comments after it.

From the wada code, 2015, I repeat:

In 2015, it [Trimetazidine] will move to the newly created sub-section S4.5.c as it is pharmacologically classified as a modulator of cardiac metabolism. In addition, AMPK activators were re-described to reflect current nomenclature.

Banned substances namd in the WADA Code, 2015:
5. Metabolic modulators:

Activators of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), e.g. AICAR; and Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptor δ (PPARδ) agonists e.g. GW 1516
Trimetazidine (the substance for which SUN tested positive)

Your follow up comment is not approved, ‘Kevin’: I’m the editor, I have a right to remove openly hostile and defamatory material from my site – and will exercise it.


“Prescribed to him by mistake” Kevin? I find that laughable. An athlete of his ilk, with the entourage like a rock star, Sun has the best support money can buy. These “mistakes” do not happen at his level. But, let just say it did….why the wait; why not come out straight away instead of the cover-up? Sun’s doctor is not from some dodgy back street alley, and he doesn’t have cereal box qualifications.

Craig Lord

Quite so, George – if you make a big mistake of that nature, best stick your hand up as fast as you can; and definitely not good to obfuscate and wriggle in the dark while the superstar with a secret races to intentional honours, the world unaware. Sun is often on social media talking to his fans; and in Incheon he raced alongside rivals who respected him and his status but he granted them no respect in return. At any stage in the process after the July hearing he could and should have come clean and insisted that his federation did likewise: had all those folk admitted what had happened and explained themselves in July two months after the positive had been returned, the passage for this athlete would have been somewhat smoother. As I said, the way things have unfolded, there has been a massive loss of trust.

Jeff Jefferies

Craig you should have a look at the following site this is what Megan Smyth is talking about. There are some very angry parents and lost children at a club Brian walk away from to train this Chinese swimmer.


Craig Lord

Thanks Jeff. I am aware of it and more – I’m in touch with some parents and coaches and others who are clearly extremely unhappy with matters related to Brian King. I have put official questions to authorities in Australia during their overnight and hope to receive replies soon as possible … and then report. Some of what I am told requires confirmation and response to comply with legal requirements under which we work, regardless of what might be out there in comment world. Again, thanks.


Live with it! Of course money talks! It is BK ‘s great blessings that he got the chance to train Sun yang, a reigning world champion and record holder. We know he(prodigal son) has been victimized by the certain Chinese authorities for trying to be different. They could have covered up for SY easily if wanted to and like BSA, Cielo got reprimanded with a mere warning for a banned stimulant ingested!

Craig Lord

Justice – Australia, official, decided not to live with it: they imposed new rules that send a message of: unacceptable. Good for them. More should follow a pattern that contributes to a culture in which doping in sport is not shrugged off but cut out. It would be helpful if other national federations, Brazil, for example, took on the look and feel of people also genuinely determined to stop bad practice.

Viva la Bang

So should be throw Sun into jail for breaking the law? He is free to travel and train where the hell he likes, he has broken no law!

Craig Lord

Viva, he broke no law that requires a jail term, of course not. He is not, however, free to train ‘where the hell he likes’ – otherwise he would be back at Miami … and beyond that, he is not free to train in places where those who fund pools and answer to local communities say ‘not welcome here’. That’s not opinion, it is a fact now playing out.

Ana Paula

Craig, please, he is not training at Miami, not in any Swimming Australia Center, so no news there. He is training at public or private facilities, paying his fees. What is the scandal?

Craig Lord

News does not have to be a scandal, Ana Paula. An Olympic champion who caused a big change in the rules under which foreign swimmers may train in Australia, including a bar from funded centres on him and others who tested positive, has found a way to stay in Australia via a coach at the centre of controversy himself (more on that soon). And managers at three private centres that I know of have turned Sun away because he is no longer associated with the trust that goes with good international relationships. That is not a scandal – it is a news line, no question whatsoever.


It seems like Sun can’t live without Australia. It was reported that he gained great improvement ever since he started getting his training in Australia back in 2010. He would not be getting the 2012 medals without Australia.

Craig Lord

Reader: the coaching is significant – Denis C has a fine record of achievement; and the environment in that part of the world is one sought out by many across the world, understandably so. What I don’t agree with is the notion that the ‘facility’ explains why Sun still wants to be in Australia. I have seen facilities in China that stretch from the perfectly adequate to the seriously world-class.


It is summer in Australia so a change in environment and climate is their motivation. Plus exposure in Ozland will remove a lot of negative insinuations of drugs enhanced performance if they performed extremely well at world class competitions.

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