International Travel

Courtney Allan

“Lack of respect”: China hits back at Mack Horton after refusing to share podium with Sun Yang

“Lack of respect”: China hits back at Mack Horton after refusing to share podium with Sun Yang

Mack Horton’s rivalry with Sun Yang is set to reach new heights as China hits back at the Aussie star for refusing to shake Yang’s hand or share the podium with him.

Horton, who won the silver medal in the 400m freestyle, refused to stand next to gold medal winner Yang or shake his hand.

The bad blood between the pair goes back to the 2016 Olympics, where Horton said he had “no time or respect for drug cheats”. This is after Yang served a three-month doping ban in 2014.

Yang also escaped sanction after there were accusations that he smashed vials of his blood with a hammer when visited by drug testers last year. He is awaiting a hearing with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to see whether he will face any punishment.

The hit back from China includes death threats to Horton and his girlfriend, as well as calling him a “fat Aussie pig”, a “pathetic loser” and “disgusting”, reported news.com.au.

According to AAP, The China Daily has led the country into a chorus of disapproval saying that “Horton’s behaviour was not an insult to Chinese athletes, but an insult to himself.”

The China Daily has also said that Horton showed a “lack of respect” which “violated the spirit of sports”.

“His behaviour will make his silver medal less glorious,” the publication allegedly added, according to The Australian.

Richard Ings, former CEO of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), has explained why he believes Horton was out of line for snubbing Yang.

“Athletes are innocent unless and until an anti-doping tribunal finds them guilty, and in the case of Sun Yang, there was an incident regarding a refusal (to provide a blood sample), a very contentious incident,” Ings said on SEN’s The Sporting Capital.

“This matter was heard by a FINA anti-doping panel. They heard arguments from both sides, the panel handed down a 59-page reason decision, where they found that Sun Yang had not violated anti-doping rules.

“That’s going to be appealed by WADA to CAS. Where we stand today is he’s had his matter heard and he’s been found innocent of all charges.

“One thing I do not like is when athletes are involved in making allegations against other athletes who have not, at that particular point in time, been found guilty of committing an anti-doping rule violation,” Ings said.

“We have to wait for the CAS hearing to see whether CAS will take a different view."