Infotainment Factory: 'Elephant in the room Horton must address': Wu

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Wednesday, 24 July 2019

'Elephant in the room Horton must address': Wu


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Mack Horton's protest of Sun Yang's success at the world swim titles highlights a double standard pervasive within Australian sport, says Fairfax sports journalist Andrew Wu.

Horton's refusal to take to the podium after finishing second to the Chinese swim star, who served a three-month doping ban in 2014 and is currently facing fresh accusations, has the nation staunchly standing in support of their home-grown hero.

While Wu sees no place in sport for drug-cheats and applauds Horton for taking a stance, he has asked the Olympian for consistency, considering three of his teammates were suspended for missing three drugs tests within 12 months.

"At the Rio Olympics he[Horton] said this of Sun 'I don't have time or respect for drug cheats'," Wu said. "But he does not seem to have too much of an issue with other athletes who violate anti-doping rules, such as teammate Thomas Fraser-Holmes.

Mack Horton and Sun Yang

"Fraser-Holmes was one of two Australian swimmers to serve 12-month suspensions starting in 2017 for missing three drugs tests in the space of 12 months.

"The other was Jarrod Poort. A third, Madeline Groves, had her ban overturned after FINA found testers did not do enough to locate her for a third test.

"We heard nothing from him when he raced Fraser-Holmes in the 200 metre freestyle final at Australia's world swimming trials last month. We haven't heard anything this week, either.

"It's one thing to take a stand against an international rival, another against your own teammate."

While Fraser-Holmes has never failed a drug test per se, Wu questioned how his return from his "whereabouts" suspension would have been received if he was a foreign athlete.

"Fraser-Holmes has not failed a drugs test, unlike Sun. His track record, according to his lawyer, of more than 200 clean tests suggests he is not a cheat. He would pass the pub test.," Wu said.

"But let's flip this around. Let's say he's one of two foreign swimmers who failed 'whereabouts' tests but had never tested positive and is making his comeback at the world championships. Would we see his return as a redemption story or as another example of authorities going soft on drug cheats?"

Wu examined past instances of Australian stars caught for doping, namely, Shane Warne, swimmer Sam Riley, The Cronulla Sharks and Essendon Bombers, and highlighted how those home-soil instances were down-played by the nation.

Horton and Sun share awkward hug

"My mum gave it to me. My coach gave it to me for a headache. We were told it was OK," he said.

"If they were excuses given by foreign athletes, we'd be up in arms. When it's one of our own we are much more willing to forgive. There are border controls on the fair go.

"This is the elephant in the room Horton has to address."

Mack Horton's protest of Sun Yang's success at the world swim titles highlights a double standard pervasive within Australian sport, says Fairfax sports journalist Andrew Wu.

Horton's refusal to take to the podium after finishing second to the Chinese swim star, who served a three-month doping ban in 2014 and is currently facing fresh accusations, has the nation staunchly standing in support of their home-grown hero.

While Wu sees no place in sport for drug-cheats and applauds Horton for taking a stance, he has asked the Olympian for consistency, considering three of his teammates were suspended for missing three drugs tests within 12 months.

"At the Rio Olympics he[Horton] said this of Sun 'I don't have time or respect for drug cheats'," Wu said. "But he does not seem to have too much of an issue with other athletes who violate anti-doping rules, such as teammate Thomas Fraser-Holmes.

Mack Horton and Sun Yang

"Fraser-Holmes was one of two Australian swimmers to serve 12-month suspensions starting in 2017 for missing three drugs tests in the space of 12 months.

"The other was Jarrod Poort. A third, Madeline Groves, had her ban overturned after FINA found testers did not do enough to locate her for a third test.

"We heard nothing from him when he raced Fraser-Holmes in the 200 metre freestyle final at Australia's world swimming trials last month. We haven't heard anything this week, either.

"It's one thing to take a stand against an international rival, another against your own teammate."

While Fraser-Holmes has never failed a drug test per se, Wu questioned how his return from his "whereabouts" suspension would have been received if he was a foreign athlete.

"Fraser-Holmes has not failed a drugs test, unlike Sun. His track record, according to his lawyer, of more than 200 clean tests suggests he is not a cheat. He would pass the pub test.," Wu said.

"But let's flip this around. Let's say he's one of two foreign swimmers who failed 'whereabouts' tests but had never tested positive and is making his comeback at the world championships. Would we see his return as a redemption story or as another example of authorities going soft on drug cheats?"

Wu examined past instances of Australian stars caught for doping, namely, Shane Warne, swimmer Sam Riley, The Cronulla Sharks and Essendon Bombers, and highlighted how those home-soil instances were down-played by the nation.

Horton and Sun share awkward hug

"My mum gave it to me. My coach gave it to me for a headache. We were told it was OK," he said.

"If they were excuses given by foreign athletes, we'd be up in arms. When it's one of our own we are much more willing to forgive. There are border controls on the fair go.

"This is the elephant in the room Horton has to address."

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