Outspoken swimming star Adam Peaty says a rule ushered in by world body FINA to prevent a repeat of the podium protests that have plagued Chinese champ Sun Yang at the world titles in South Korea is “meaningless”.
World body FINA fast-tracked in a new code of conduct provision this week after Sun was snubbed at two medal ceremonies at Gwangju.
It confirms that athletes might receive a ban or lose their medal if they indulge in “any political, religious or discriminatory statement or behaviour” at the podium.
But world breaststroke champion Peaty – a long-time critic of Sun and FINA – said nothing would stop him from speaking out on doping issues.
“We’re here to swim and we’re not going to get involved in a [discussion on a] code of conduct that ain’t gonna change anything – [it’s] meaningless,” the Briton told Swimming World Magazine website.
“Athletes are always entitled to freedom of speech and when we detect that something is wrong and there’s cheating, then why shouldn’t we have a voice?”
Every national swimming federation president and secretary general was issued the new edict by FINA at 9.46pm on Tuesday, according to The Australian.
That was barely an hour after Briton Duncan Scott followed Australian Mack Horton’s lead and failed to acknowledge Sun at the 200-metre freestyle medal ceremony, sparking ugly scenes.
Sun gesticulated wildly at Scott post-ceremony, with TV cameras capturing the 11-time world champ saying: “You’re a loser; I’m winning.”
Both Scott and Sun earned warnings from FINA for “inadequate behaviour”.
Sun Yang to Duncan Scott: "You're a loser. I'm a winner." pic.twitter.com/W1AhD6XekV
— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) July 23, 2019
Olympic champion Horton lit the fuse for the world titles controversy when he refused to share a podium with Sun after the Chinese champion relegated him to 400-metre silver on Sunday night.
Swimmers are livid that Sun has been allowed to compete with a September Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing looming that may end the Chinese star’s career.
Sun has been accused of destroying vials of his blood with a hammer during a clash with testers last year.
Sun – who served a 2014 doping ban – faces a lifetime suspension if found guilty.
However, if swimmers vent their frustration again at the world titles podium they face sanction under FINA’s new clause.
“The competitors shall actively participate in the full conduct of the competition including victory ceremonies and, if applicable, presentations and-or press conferences,” the clause reportedly reads.
“They shall strictly avoid any offensive or improper behaviour towards the officials, the other competitors, the team members and/or the spectators during the entire conduct of the competition.
“Any political, religious or discriminatory statement or behaviour is strictly prohibited.”
The stage was set for more drama in Wednesday’s 800-metre freestyle final but a potential incident was averted when Sun missed the podium, finishing sixth.
Scott made no apologies about his podium snub on Wednesday, even joking that he was glad that the dispute did not get physical with the towering Sun, saying he had “a wee bit of size on me”.
Meanwhile, Sun’s coach – Australian Denis Cotterell – has defended his charge after the podium protest furore.
“”I am happy to be working with him,” he told The Australian.
“If you think for a second I would be doing that with someone that is a cheat then people don’t know me. That is an insult.”