Podium protest: Mack’s snub ‘respectful’, Horton’s dad tells 3AW
Mack Horton’s controversial podium protest was “respectful” and for good of the sport, according to the Australian swim star’s father.
Melbourne swimmer Horton courted controversy by refusing to mount the podium next to arch-rival Sun Yang at the swimming World Championships overnight.
Horton finished second in the 400-metre freestyle final in South Korea behind Yang, an accused drug cheat.
But upon receiving his silver medal, the Olympic gold medalist refused to share the podium with Yang.
Earlier this year, Sun Yang allegedly smashed vials of blood samples with a hammer in front of anti-doping testers following an out-of-competition test.
In 2014, Sun was banned for three months by the Chinese Swimming Association after testing positive to a stimulant, which had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list four months earlier.
After last night’s race, Yang claimed to be honoured and proud to win a record fourth-straight world title and expects Horton’s actions to be perceived as disrespecting China.
Horton’s father, Andrew, told Ross and John he didn’t know Mack was going to make the protest until it unfolded before him.
“Mack, like so many in the sport, would just like consistency in the approach to the testing regime,” he told 3AW Breakfast.
“I think he was frustrated and disappointed, as so many of the athletes are, that this issue has tagged along into world championships.”
Mr Horton said his son’s stance had “absolutely” caused consternation in China “but I think it’s really important that we’re very much on the record that this is all to do about the process of swimming and ensuring there’s a fair process of swimming”.
“It’s not a commentary about China, we have huge respect for China.
“This is about ensuring that there are systems and processes in the sport that keep the sport clean.”
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