By Peter Rutherford
GWANGJU, South Korea (Reuters) – Britain’s Duncan Scott said he was unaware he had been issued a warning by swimming’s governing body FINA over his refusal to shake Sun Yang’s hand at the medal ceremony for the 200 freestyle on Tuesday.
Sun 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 and his presence at the world championships in South Korea has been the source of controversy.
Scott, who finished fifth in the 200 individual medley heats on Wednesday after he withdrew from the 100 freestyle, caused uproar after he shook hands with the other medalists but completely blanked the Chinese swimmer.
Sun reacted angrily, shouting and 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.
FINA later issued a warning letter to both swimmers, saying they had displayed “inadequate behavior”.
“I’ve got no clue. I’ve just literally swam,” Scott told reporters when asked about the warning. “I don’t know as much as you guys right now.”
On Sunday, Australian Mack Horton refused to share the podium with Sun after the Chinese swimmer won the 400 freestyle while other athletes have been highly critical of FINA over the doping issue.
Australia’s Mitch Larkin paid tribute to Scott and Horton’s bravery.
“You know they’re truly the most courageous guys and I couldn’t be proud of both of them,” he said after the medley heats.
“They’re standing for what they believe in and that’s clean sport and if we didn’t believe that we wouldn’t be racing here today.”
Chad le Clos, who finished second behind Sun in the 200 freestyle at the Rio Olympics three years ago, was also absent from the 100 heats on Wednesday.
The South African told reporters on Tuesday it was good that swimmers were taking a stand, and added: “I want my gold medal back from Rio.”
(Reporting by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)