Adam Peaty has backed the decision by British bronze medallist Duncan Scott to snub Sun Yang on the podium on Tuesday after the controversial Chinese swimmer’s victory in the 200 metres freestyle at the world championships in Gwangju.
Sun, who is swimming under a cloud in Gwangju with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) set to hear a doping case against him in September, was handed the win when Lithuanian Danas Rapsys was disqualified for a false start.
Scott congratulated silver medallist Katsuhiro Matsumoto of Japan and Russian Martin Malyutin, who finished in the same time as the Briton, but completely blanked Sun on the podium.
The Chinese swimmer reacted angrily, shouting “you’re a loser, I’m a winner” while gesturing at Scott, who also refused to take part in a group photo on the podium and kept his distance from Sun as they left the stage.
And while Scott declined to elaborate on his actions to reporters his teammate Adam Peaty, who swam in the 50 breaststroke semi-finals, said Scott was “completely right” to take action, adding that Sun should consider his place in swimming.
“He should be asking himself now should he really be in sport when the people were booing him, but I know how they are and I know how he is so …” Peaty, who has previously criticised Sun and the decision to allow him to compete in Gwangju with the doping case hanging over him, said athletes had a right to speak out.
“I think the most important thing as a sportsperson is you have the right to a voice and Duncan showed his voice and so did the crowd,” he added. “If the fans aren’t wanting him [Sun] I don’t even know why he’s here.”
The incident comes two days after Australian Mack Horton refused to share the podium with Sun after the 400.
Sun, who served a doping ban in 2014 and was labelled a “drug cheat” by Horton before the Rio Olympics final, got the green light to compete in Gwangju after being cleared by a Fina panel of breaching the governing body’s rules earlier this year.
However, the World Anti-Doping Agency is seeking to overturn the decision at Cas, leaving Sun’s career hanging in the balance a year out from the Tokyo Olympics. Peaty added: “I mean, if I was swimming [the 400] I wouldn’t have gone on the podium like Mack.”
Sun, who also won gold in the 200 in 2017, touched in a time of 1:44.93, with Matsumoto 0.29 behind in second and Malyutin and Scott taking bronze, 0.70 off Sun’s time.
“My victory was because of my hard work. I continued to keep fighting, I didn’t give up when I was in second place,” said Sun. “I was the only one to enter the 800 [heats] this morning, so I was very tired. I just slept for an hour and a half this afternoon.“
The crowd at the Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center jeered the decision to disqualify Rapsys, who seemed to twitch on the starting blocks. The Lithuanian did not stop for questions after the race. There was a mixed reaction to Scott’s behaviour on the podium, with Chinese fans shouting and jeering while others cheered him as he left the pool deck.