Olympian Sun calls for re­spect af­ter Australian swim­mer’s dais snub

Global Times US Edition - - CHINA - By Wang Qi

Chi­nese Olympic cham­pion Sun Yang urged Australian swim­mer Mack Horton to re­spect China, af­ter the lat­ter re­fused to stand on the podium and have a post-cer­e­mony photo taken with him at Sun­day’s world swim­ming cham­pi­onships.

Horton did not shake hands with his bit­ter ri­val af­ter com­ing in sec­ond to Sun in the 400-meter freestyle fi­nal, and re­fused to join him on the podium on the open­ing night in Gwangju, South Korea.

Horton also ap­proached Ital­ian swim­mer Gabriele Detti, who de­clined the Australian’s re­quest to do the same, The Daily Tele­graph re­ported on Mon­day.

FINA on Mon­day sent a warn­ing let­ter to Horton, sug­gest­ing the medal cer­e­mony was not the ap­pro­pri­ate time for him to make such ges­ture.

As in all ma­jor sports or­ga­ni­za­tions, ath­letes and their en­tourages are aware of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to re­spect FINA reg­u­la­tions and not use FINA events to make per­sonal state­ments or ges­tures, it said.

Sun called Horton’s be­hav­ior a “little trick,” and said it had no im­pact on him.

Sun said that “the award­ing cer­e­mony was divine, as ev­ery ath­lete rep­re­sents his own coun­try at that spot…dis­re­spect­ing me was OK, but you must re­spect China.”

“It doesn’t be­long to the for­eign af­fairs min­istry and you can ask Sun Yang your­self,” Geng Shuang, spokesper­son of China’s For­eign Min­istry, said on Mon­day.

“Sun Yang is the flag­ship of China’s swim­ming team and we must sup­port him,” Han Qiaosheng, a se­nior Chi­nese sports com­men­ta­tor told the Global Times.

Han pointed out that Sun’s vic­tory has threat­ened the su­pe­ri­or­ity com­plex of some peo­ple in the West.

Richard Ings, for­mer head of the Australian Sports Anti-dop­ing Author­ity (ASADA), wrote on Twit­ter on Sun­day that he blames Horton and be­lieves he should re­ceive a hefty penalty for the podium snub.

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