Aussie swimmer Horton says no regrets over Sun podium protest
SYDNEY: Mack Horton said he would have carried out his anti-doping podium protest against China’s Sun Yang even if he had known fellow Australian swimmer Shayna Jack failed a drugs test.
The Olympic 400 metres gold medallist snubbed Sun for a photo-call and refused to shake his hand after a medal ceremony at last month’s world championships in South Korea, following a drug-testing controversy involving the Chinese star.
His stance won support among fellow competitors but provoked a furious reaction in China, which only intensified when it emerged Jack failed an out-of-competition test in the lead-up to the world titles.
She returned home before the meet started and Horton only learned of her positive result — which she has vowed to fight — after his protest. But he insisted it would not have affected his decision to take a stand.
“It was hard. It’s really hard,” he told Channel Seven late on Sunday, describing his reaction on hearing about Jack’s positive test. But Horton added that “nothing changes” about his podium protest. “The difference being, as soon as she returns a positive sample, she’s returned to Australia, she’s not competing at a world championships,” he said.
“That gives me faith in the Australian system. We won’t let our own athletes get away with it, (so) we can question and demand more from the rest of the world.”