China demands Australian apology after 'malicious' attack on country's swimmers

Yolanda Curtis
August 8, 2016

The Radcliffe-born swimmer scraped into the final of the 400m freestyle yesterday but rose to the occasion in the final in the early hours of this morning before finally finishing sixth.

Sun served a doping ban in secret in 2014, news of which was only announced in China retrospectively, and Horton ignored his rival when he attempted to make contact during a practice swim.

Sun missed the 400m title on Saturday evening by the length of a finger tip behind Horton who clocked 3 minutes, 41.55 seconds in the Rio Olympic swimming final.

In an interview after his win he defended his comments, saying: "I used the words drug cheat because he tested positive".

Meantime the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has released a statement in support of Horton, saying he is entitled to his point of view. "This is something he feels strongly about and good luck to him", the spokesman said in an email to Reuters.

"We have been noticing what has been said in the past two days by Horton, who launched a malicious personal attack (on Chinese swimmers)", team manager Xu Qi told China's state-run Xinhua news agency.

"They shouldn't lecturing anyone about upbringing and good manners", the 3AW Mornings host said. It is not just the Chinese netizens but also the Chinese swim team which demanded an apology from Horton.

Tensions between the two flared when Horton, 20, described Sun as a "drug cheat".

"Sun Yang Don't Cry" was the top-trending hashtag on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter.

Social media was flooded with comments criticising Horton's accusations.

"Horton is a loser because of his bad behaviour".

Thailand's Sopita Tanasan won the first weightlifting gold, the women's -48kg, with a total lift of 200kg.

"Ur so disrespectful and RACIST to your competitor!" That Sun Yang hasn't tested positive to a steroid, rather some docile heart medication. "#ApologizeToSunYang" said another tweet. The front page of Sydney's Daily Telegraph on Monday led with the headline "Clean Machine" over an image of the swimmer and his gold medal, adding that "our superman shows world how to smash drug cheats".

"Do you know what it's called respect! Dad and mum are proud of you and will be rooting for you", Yang said.

Chinese superstar swimmer Sun Yang declared war on Australian rival Mack Horton, telling him before a showdown in the 1,500 metres freestyle that he is the "king".

Yang was suspended for three months in 2014 after testing positive to a banned stimulant.

"I'm clean. I've proved I'm clean".

"It nearly seems unbelievable that I have two daughters who stood at the top of the podium at the Olympic Games doing what they used to talk about doing 15 years ago as young swimmers", she told local broadcaster Channel Seven on Sunday.

James Guy, a two-time gold-medallist from last year's World Championships in Kazan, qualified sixth into the final as a result of the morning heats.

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