Mack Horton’s podium protest draws ire of International Swimming Federation
Gwangju, South Korea: The International Swimming Federation will send a "warning letter" to Mack Horton and Swimming Australia in the wake of the dramatic podium protest against Chinese 400m freestyle champion Sun Yang on the opening night of the world titles.
In a statement released late on Monday night, FINA said its executive had decided to warn Horton and Swimming Australia about his behaviour after he refused to share the podium with Sun, who has a matter pending before the Court of Arbitration for Sport after he smashed a vial of blood due to be taken for testing.
He was cleared by FINA but has been a hugely controversial presence at the championships, with a host of leading swimmers backing Horton's stance on Monday and actively rallying against Sun's right to compete.
Horton took matters into his own hands once again in a move that drew the ire of Sun, his millions of Chinese fans and now FINA, who have condemned the act without implementing any further sanctions.
"The FINA Executive met today in Gwangju (KOR) to analyse the situation related with the mens 400m free victory ceremony and has decided to send a warning letter to Swimming Australia Ltd and to athlete Mack Horton (AUS)," the statement said.
"While FINA respects the principle of freedom of speech, it has to be conducted in the right context.
"As in all major sports organisations, our athletes and their entourages are aware of their responsibilities to respect FINA regulations and not use FINA events to make personal statements or gestures.
"The matter over which Mack Horton was allegedly protesting is currently under review by CAS and therefore it is not appropriate for FINA to prejudice this hearing by commenting further."
FINA's condemnation caps off a dramatic 24 hours for Horton, who has had the usual hate mail from online Chinese fans. But it is curious that Swimming Australia was also warned by FINA, given they knew nothing about the protest before it unfolded before their eyes.
Swimming Australia said they would not be responding publicly to the letter.
Horton is due to face Sun again in the 800m on Wednesday.
On night two in Gwangju, Emma McKeon added another medal to her tally with bronze in the 100m butterfly, while there was a sensation in the semi-finals of the 200m freestyle as Clyde Lewis came from nowhere to qualify fastest for the final and Kyle Chalmers missed a spot.
He was sixth in his semi and that performance will likely see the end of his experiment with the race and potentially delete it from his program at the Tokyo Games.
Mitch LarkinRead More – Source