Mack Horton: Swimmer refuses to join rival Sun Yang on podium
Written by Fred on July 22, 2019
Australian swimmer Mack Horton has publicly reignited his feud with Chinese rival Sun Yang, years after accusing him of being a “drug cheat”.
Sun pipped Horton to claim gold in the 400m freestyle at the World Aquatics Championships in South Korea on Sunday.
Horton later refused to share the medal podium with Sun – who has faced fresh claims of violating doping protocols.
Afterwards, Sun told reporters: “Disrespecting me was OK, but disrespecting China was unfortunate.
“I feel sorry about that.”
Horton, the defending Olympic champion, had also declined to shake hands with Sun or pose for photos with him. He happily posed beside Italian bronze medallist Gabriele Detti.
Sun served a three-month suspension in 2014 for testing positive for a banned stimulant trimetazidine, which he said had been for a heart complaint.
The pair’s enmity goes back to the 2016 Rio Olympics when Horton accused Sun of deliberately splashing him in a training session, saying: “I ignored him, I don’t have time or respect for drug cheats.”
Later, he added: “I just have a problem with athletes who have tested positive and are still competing.”
Horton won gold in Rio, but Sun has otherwise dominated the event in recent years – his win on Sunday in Gwangju is his fourth consecutive world title.
“I don’t think I need to say anything. His actions and how it has been handled speaks louder than anything I could say.”
Sun said he was “aware of the rumours” but did not elaborate, saying “I will keep trying to put a lot of effort in my swimming”.