Mainland star Sun Yang back from ban in style

Olympic champ successfully returns to the pool but sparks a mixed reaction in online debate

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 9:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 9:22pm


Mainland swimming star Sun Yang returned to the pool in style by winning a national title after a six-month ban for his latest run-in with authorities, sparking online debate on Tuesday.

Sports officials suspended the double Olympic champion from competition, national team training and commercial activities last November after he was given seven days' detention for driving a Porsche sports car without a licence.

He won the 200m freestyle title on his comeback at the Chinese National Swimming Championships, clocking an impressive one minute 46.04 seconds.

Sun became a huge star after winning the 400m and 1500m freestyle golds at the London Olympics in 2012, and took three titles at the world championships last year.

It is not his nature that is bad, but he just has the heart of a child
Blogger on Sina Weibo

But the 22-year-old sparked controversy when he was found not to have a licence after a white Porsche Cayenne he was driving was rear-ended by a bus in Hangzhou, his hometown in Zhejiang province.

Sports authorities said "he violated the basic principles of morality and went against the spirit of sport", state media previously reported.

His latest victory was met with mixed feelings from mainland sports fans.

"This is someone without morals," said one blog posted on Sina Weibo, the Chinese microblogging platform.

"It is not his nature that is bad, but he just has the heart of a child," another user responded.

"Congratulations on your return," said one more positive poster.

Sun was previously embroiled in controversy after his long-time coach Zhu Zhigen told him to end his relationship with a flight attendant.

The two fell out over the issue, and Sun was accused of lacking respect for his mentor.

Amid the row, the Zhejiang College of Sports issued a stern statement accusing Sun of "breaking a series of team rules", which domestic media said included breaking night-time curfews and refusing to train.