Former Olympic champion Greg Rutherford has blasted swimming’s world governing body FINA over its response to Duncan Scott’s podium protest against Chinese drugs cheat Sun Yang.
Scott refused to join Yang and his fellow medallists in the customary post-ceremony photographs for the men’s 200m freestyle event at the World Championships in Gwangju on Tuesday.
After Sun turned to confront Scott, the pair were issued with warning letters and long jump star Rutherford, who has been vocal in his anti-drugs stance in athletics, told PA: “I’m really disappointed with FINA because to give Duncan a warning letter is ridiculous.
“I think what Duncan did was the right thing. Each athlete should be allowed to have their own form of protest, and we need more athletes to stand up and say letting drugs cheats back in is not the right thing.”
Yang, who has served one doping ban and faces an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over a potential second, faced a similar protest on Monday when Australian silver medallist Mack Horton refused to take to the podium after the 400m freestyle final.
While Swimming Australia swiftly issued a statement in support of Horton’s stance, British Swimming has no plans to comment on Scott’s action, which was roundly cheered by a significant number of spectators.
Scott was upgraded to a share of bronze after the initial winner, Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys, was disqualified moments after touching home first due to a false start, handing Sun his second gold.
Following the medal ceremony, Sun turned back towards Scott as the athletes were being paraded away from pool-side and appeared to say “You’re a loser, I’m a winner” in the face of the 22-year-old, who smiled and remained silent.
Rutherford added: “We’re in a situation where everyone on a global scale will say drugs are bad and you’ve got somebody prepared to take a stand, only for the major governing bodies to not support him.
“We need to see more athletes taking a stand and when that happens I think the governing bodies will realise that maybe bringing drugs cheats back is not for the good of the sport.
“I was lucky enough to win an Olympic gold medal and for someone else to miss out because someone else is taking drugs is completely unfair.
“If you cheated somebody else out of an opportunity, you don’t deserve another chance. We need to be stricter and we need more athletes like Duncan standing up and saying no.”
Olympic diving champion Jack Laugher also came to Scott’s defence and indicated he would find it difficult to share a podium with an athlete who had been convicted of a doping offence.
Laugher said: “I fully support Duncan’s right to have an opinion and the ability to protest. I imagine sharing a podium with someone you don’t respect because of drugs must be very difficult.”