Sun Yang’s Doctor Ba Zhen Gets New Doping Penalty For Second WADA Code Offence

Sun Yang on poolside with the man China's media says is Ba Zhen, banned May 17, working with China's top aquatic asset September 22 - Photo: from a ragout of the source cited in our editorial [Inset: Sun by Patrick Kraemer]

Ba Zhen, the doctor who was suspended for prescribing a banned substance to Sun Yang – but then worked on the deck with the Olympic 400 and 1500m freestyle swimmer at the Asian Games last September during his period of suspension – has been handed a further year in the sin bin

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Ba Zhen, the doctor who was suspended for prescribing a banned substance to Sun Yang – but then worked on the deck with the Olympic 400 and 1500m freestyle swimmer at the Asian Games last September during his period of suspension – has been handed a further year in the sin bin



So they’re backdating the (beginning of the) suspension again? What a joke.


Ban Sun Yang and his doctor for life. And they should give back all the millions they made by cheating. People like these pollute all swimming pools worldwide.

John Leonard

The personal security of the Chinese Swimming Delegation is in very sad condition if the Dr. Ba Zhen can appear on deck, work on the most famous athlete in the entire pool and the Chinese team, and “this was done without the previous knowledge or consent from the Chinese National Swimming Team Officials”.

Did he manufacture his own deck credential?
Did he materialize on deck without going past security?

Perhaps Chinese invisibility cream?

Pure Nonsense.

John Leonard


Could Sun Yang have Marfen’s Syndrome?

I ask – and it’s a long shot – because trimitizidene is prescribed for people with Marfen’s.

I know it’s a stretch but Sun Yang does have some of the outward physical manifestations of someone with the condition.

I’m not defending Sun Yang or the doctor but I am wondering…

It is not inconceivable that he might have Marfen’s and be taking the drug to manage the heart problems associated with drug.

Just wondering…


MPalota – Sun Yang has Marfen and I will be the next Pope. Which of the two is further from the truth I really do not know..


i think is hard to call Yang a cheater when he was taking the same medication for years.We can only infer that, if the cause of his disease is a bogus made by Chinese officials.

Unfortunately, this situation smells bad every time an article is out.


OMG. Who really should be banned is WADA. Trimetazidine in sport is not even as effective as lots of 100% legal supplements. So let’s prohibit creatine, protein, poly-vitamins and other “sport nutrition” stuff too. Then we gonna ban eating more than 2500 calories and drinking more than 2 liters of water a day. And training too hard should also be prohibited since it’s cheating towards the athletes who train not that much.

Ridiculous! I can understand why anabolic steroids are not allowed. A lot of negative side effects for athlete’s health when used not properly. But fkuc, trimetazidine is not only ineffective compared to them, it actually helps to protect athlete’s heart from overstrain!

For all those who hate Sun and wants him to be suspended for life: go learn a little about pharmacology in sports and only then open your mouths.


@MPalota: IMO that is not a stupid suggestion. Sun Yang indeed (like many swimmers) displays physical manifestations of Marfan Syndrome or another “marfanoid” syndrome. I am a PT, not an MD, so I do not know about medications that may be prescribed for treatment; but he definitely displays musculoskeletal manifestations of this disease, which can have serious cardiac complications in some cases.

However, if Sun Yang were diagnosed and required treatment with medication, his doctor/Federation would have to apply to the WADA for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for him to take it.

Also, if he was beginning to have symptoms that affected his cardiac function and the management of those symptoms necessitated use of a banned medication, he would not be able to safely continue to train without it, unless another medication with similar effects was not on the banned drug list.

So these questions remain:
1. Why wasn’t a TUE applied for if he needed the drug?
2. If non-banned drug treatment was available and necessary, why didn’t he switch medication sooner?

Without answers to these questions, I would have to assume either:
A. He does not have Marfan Syndrome, or
B. If he has it, he does not require medication, and therefore was taking it for its enhancement properties.


If he has Marfan Syndrome then I am far more infuriated with the Chinese as high intensity exercise is extremely dangerous for these individudals. Most deaths occur during high intensity exercise undiagnosed individuals (see Flo Hyman). They would be playing with his life if that was the case.

I defended John Leonard on websites back in 2012 when he had harsh comments about China. This instance just wants me to defend him even more.


I’m kind of with you, jman.

If he does have Marfan Syndrome, then it’s not impossible that he might be “encouraged” to continue to compete by the Chinese authorities.

It’s speculation, of course, but the child of an acquaintance of mine – he was a swimmer – was just diagnosed and, as part of his treatment / management of the condition, was prescribed trimitizidene. (And, yes, he’s had to stop training.)

I’m of the opinion that however you look at this, it’s bad. If he doesn’t have Marfan, then he cheated and if he does, then his doctor is knowingly putting his health at profound risk.


FYI: In his book, “Michael Phelps: Beneath the Surface”, MP states that at one point in his training he was experiencing unusual increases in heart rate, and because he has a number of the musculoskeletal characteristics of Marfan Syndrome, he was checked out and continues to be monitored by a cardiologist with yearly exams.


John L., spot on… The doc is running around on pooldeck in official chinese gear and nobody knows him or realizes that?!? This is such an obvious lie the chinese federation should be reprimanded by FINA. Probably we should see all official anouncements by the chinese swimming federation in that light…


“by travelling on a private basis to the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon (KOR) and by helping to rehabilitate his athlete during that competition. This was done without the previous knowledge or consent from the Chinese National Swimming Team officials.”

Sorry for the language.

But it is extremely doubtful that a Chinese authority had no knowledge about anything that did not go according to their plan.


And there is NO FREAKING WAY a delegation from China could have gotten an official visa to Asian Games in SOUTH KOREA if they were not part of official delegation. And if Ba Zhen traveled to Incheon on tourist visa, how on earth did he gain access to pool deck and worked on China’s most prized swimmer? Had he done it and violated his term, surely Chinese Swimming federation would have punished him heavily for embarrassing China at international stage.



It is true about Justin Gaitlin.

But the US authorities have to let them compete, because they were all scared of lawsuits. All we can do is name and shame Gaitlin like we do to Efimova, Yang, Park, Hardy, etc.

The thing is, if you hire very good lawyers, you can get very minimal punishment if you cheat. Not so lucky if you are from developing countries with no money. Herein lies the injustice and unfairness.
Doping punishment should be equal, no matter where you are from and no matter how implausible your excuse is.

Craig Lord

Swimmer, a great many athletes train for the 1500m without the need to “protect” the heart from “overstrain”. The point about banned substances in general is that they help a swimmer perform beyond their natural capacity in a significant way. You level your criticism at WADA, which is the correct target (though that does not make you right and them wrong), for their experts have placed this substance there. Your last sentence is misguided: it is not for the wider public and fan to train up on “pharmacology” in order to hold an opinion (though reading up on such things is always helpful and reading up on Tri is not at all as clear cut as you seem to suggest, in my view) – WADA’s experts saw a trend of misuse on this subject and made it a banned substance from 2014. Sun Yang fell foul of that for reasons we know about, explanations extending to CHINADA’s mistake and much else, including obfuscation and delayed reporting of the case – and then a very lengthy time passing before FINA came out with the news that China had initially imposed no penalty on Sun Yang. What a mess: this was clearly a case of an athlete, a doctor, a FINA Bureau member, a federation, a country never having paid nearly enough attention to the WADA Code – an the fact that it has done the right thing on many other occasions suggest that there was an element of treating this case differently because of the status of the athlete. Unacceptable – especially so for every man training for a 1500m without propping themselves up with Tri.
The reason we were told that Sun had been taking this substance long-term was a medical condition. If an athlete needs such things to sustain training for a 1500m, then, in my view, they should not be training for the 1500m. In the countries of some of his main rivals, such a heart condition would preclude the athlete from being allowed to train and compete.
Beyond that, the explanation that Ba Zhen was travelling to South Korea and accredited for an Asian Games as a private citizen of China is absurd. So, any Chinese citizen can just go get a visa to south Korea and buy a plane ticket these days? Correct? Even if that were so, you can’t accredit for an event like that unless someone signs your form to say which team or organisation you’re working for. So, organisers in Incheon could surely clear that up in a simple call – his accreditation would have stated quite clearly the category of accreditation and who is was affiliated for.

Craig Lord

aswimfan, you are right to point out the reality of un-level treatment. It is real and the case file confirms that.

Craig Lord

roy, while i can go along with much of what you say, I think there is plenty of evidence to show that the US does take doping seriously (yes, you can point to cases in some sports where you have to question commitment, just as you can the world over but the generality of your statement doesn’t stack up).


I can explain the suspension period.In WADA’s DC 2009 which was applied to the cases of 2014,the period of ineligibility which was originally imposed shall start over again as of the date of the violation.
It’s different with DC 2015.

Craig Lord

rrr – the second offence was committed in 2014, before the 2015 Code came into force.


Swimmer – I open my mouth as much as I want. Unless Craig and John ask me to shut up. If you do not like my views, I suggest you do not read my posts. The substance is banned. Full stop. And please respect other peoples’ views before opening your mouth. Thank you.

Who is pulling the strings

And let’s not forget about the coach!!! Brian King has finally made himself available to the SAL Investigator where no doubt he will deny deny deny!

The whole thing makes me sick to the stomach!


I keep seeing the abbreviation SAL on this website, but I don’t know what it stands for. Is it the “Society of Australian Lawyers”?

Craig Lord

Swimming Australia Limited, Danjohnrob


Thank you, Mr Lord. Is that the Australian equivalent of USS or United States Swimming?


@danjohnrob, yes SAL is the equivalent of USS


Craig, do you honestly think that those Trimetablahblahblah pills affected Sun’s performance? I don’t. I had to take medication which contained this substance (not in order to boost my endurance or speed, of course) for couple of months few years ago. And I continued to train and swim at local Masters meets in my country. I didn’t feel any difference in any aspect of my condition, not even 0,1%. I’ll repeat it again: just few weeks of taking simple Creatine Monohydrate leads to notable improvements. And it’s legal. Kind of funny to me.


MP, I respect those who respect common sence 😉 You say: “The substance is banned. Full stop.”. This sounds ridiculous to me. What if tomorrow WADA bans protein shakes or poly-vitamin complexes or eating oatmeal for breakfast? Are you going to take it as well?

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