rio olympics

'We have no intention of making an apology': Aussies tell China where to go as Sun Yang row rumbles on

Our athletes have the right to express themselves says chef de mission as Mack Horton continues to cop flack on mainland for branding Yang a dope cheat

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2016, 4:07am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 August, 2016, 10:36am

Australia has rejected calls from China to apologise over swimmer Mack Horton labelling Chinese superstar Sun Yang a “drug cheat”, insisting that its athletes have a right to express their own opinions.

Chef de mission Kitty Chiller made Australia’s stance clear on the third day of the Rio Games as tensions escalated between the two swimmers following Sun’s narrow loss to Horton in the 400 metres freestyle final two days earlier.

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“We have no intention of making an apology
Australia’s chef de mission Kitty Chiller

“All our athletes have the right to express themselves,” Chiller told reporters on Monday.

“Mack obviously has very strong views about the need for clean sport, as every single one of us does, and he has every right to express his views and his displeasure in that sense.

“We have no intention of making an apology,” she declared.

After clinching his gold medal on the first day of the Olympics, Horton defended his decision to call Sun a “drug cheat” by saying: “I have a problem with him testing positive and still competing.”

The Chinese Swimming Association has written to its Australian counterpart to demand an apology from Horton, describing the new Olympic champion’s accusations as “malicious attacks” that “show a lack of personal quality and manners”.

Chinese social media was flooded with comments criticising Horton’s accusations, with some calling him “rubbish” and his country a “rubbish bin”.

Sun will face off against Horton once more in a 1,500m qualifying heat on Friday. The finals take place the following day.

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